January 30, 2009

Perfect Day

Today was literally the perfect day. I woke up mid-morning - not too early, not too late - had a nice breakfast and headed into the city to swim. The swim was short but a really good effort for me. I hit my fastest average per 100. I had a quick hot shower and then went to the spa for an 80 minute massage. This massage was very long overdue. I have been needing it since my accident, but my shoulder wasn't ready for the pressure so I held off. After my move, I felt it was time.

The therapist was perfect. He applied enough pressure to make it feel worthwhile, but some of it still managed to feel relatively relaxing. Afterward, I lounged on the couch by the pool sipping water and began to feel more relaxed than I have in months. It was hard to find the energy to eventually get up and shower. I spent about 10 minutes in the steam room and moved at a ridiculously slow pace getting ready. After a glass of wine I was pretty much comatose.

I haven't been training a whole lot, but I needed the mental break. I'm going to carry that through the entire weekend because soon enough, a break will be much harder to take.

Distance - 1,050 yards
Time - 20:04

January 28, 2009


You hear a lot about imbalance in sport - muscle imbalances, flexibility imbalances, etc. We're always striving to achieve balance and symmetry. I discovered today that I suffer from a serious case of imbalance when it comes to dealing with my bike.

I can ride 100 miles but can barely change a tire. If my chain were to drop and I didn't have a guy with me, I'm not sure I could get it back on. I carry a little bag of tools on my bike but wouldn't have the first clue what to do with any of them. I virtually taught myself to swim, signed up for an Ironman and hired a coach, yet realized today I had no idea how to use my tire pump. How can this be?

I think my lack of skills is largely due to a couple things: (1) There is often someone - preferably a man - willing to help with such things so most of us can get by indefinitely without the need to sharpen these skills; (2) It's not fun or interesting so I give it lesser priority. I'd rather ride the bike than tinker around with it.

After a bit of a struggle, I conquered the tire pump and felt rather accomplished. Perhaps this spring I'll focus a bit of time on basic bike maintenance so I can feel more confident and independent on the road.

After a short trainer ride and a fitness evaluation with a personal trainer, I headed into the city for what would end up being my longest swim yet. I decided to shoot for 3,000 yards as long as my shoulder felt up to it. I broke it into sets of 250, 500, 500, 250, 250, 500, 500 and 250 to avoid getting bored. This was an important accomplishment for me. It was the first time I've felt like I'm finally getting past my injury.

Another couple days like today and my long lost motivation might return.

Biking (trainer)
Time - 30:00

Distance - 3,000 yards
Time - 1:00:07

January 26, 2009

Filling in the Blanks

Once again, I've disappeared. I just can't find the time lately to deal with my new apartment, get in what little training I can, keep a training log and write a blog. So at least one thing suffers each day. But I'm happy to report that I've been able to remain fairly active given how busy I've been. Here's what I've been up to since my last post:

  • Sunday, January 18 - I woke up sick with a miserable cold and had more moving to do. Enough said.
  • Monday, January 19 - I still felt awful but was getting cabin fever so I made a quick trip to the gym for a treadmill 5K. I was able to breathe well, but got a bit light-headed so I kept the intensity low. The best part of this workout was the 10 minutes in the steam room at the end.
  • Tuesday, January 20 - The cold felt a tiny bit better after finding some Mucinex DM in a random box so I decided to test it out in the pool. I had an unpleasant lane mate and the pool was absolutely packed so it was even more incentive to keep it short and sweet. Plus I was late for an inauguration party in my old neighborhood. The swim was fine and didn't seem to aggravate my cold so it was productive. The party was even better. It was so nice to get out and take a break from unpacking and settling in.
  • Wednesday, January 21 - This was the most interesting day of my week. After a bit of a setback with my cold, which may or may not have had something to do with the party, I had a rough morning. I had wanted to do a long run but it was so cold outside that it hurt to breathe. After spending the day working on the apartment, I decided to go to the gym and attempt a longer run on the treadmill. I was thinking I would do 4, take a break and do 4 more. After getting started, I decided to see if I could go longer. Since I haven't been running much at all, I kept the pace low. I did 4 miles and paused for 1 minute so I could step off the treadmill and stretch quickly. I got back on and did 2 more miles at a faster pace to break up the monotony a bit, then took about 2 minutes to fill up my water and have a quick break. I did the final 4 miles at a much slower, easier pace. That was the longest I have ever run on a treadmill and I honestly didn't think it would be possible. I guess I missed running more than I thought.
  • Thursday, January 22 - I had a busy day of meetings and running errands so I carried my gear and stopped for a quick swim in between. I only had time for 1,000 yards and it was in a funny little pool I don't care to swim in. It's only 20 yards, 5 yards shorter than most pools, and it really makes a difference. It's not a pool you'd want to do any significant distance in.
  • Friday, January 23 - My friend Beth was arriving from out of town to stay with me for the weekend. She was coming to run her first half marathon and I offered to pace her. I had tons of housework to do in preparation of her arrival so there was no time for training. But it was just as well. My apartment finally started to look like an apartment, a breakthrough I'd been desperately waiting for. We had drinks at my local in Manhattan and then dinner and drinks at a wine bar in Brooklyn. It was another nice break from the busy week.
  • Saturday, January 24 - Beth and I slept in and had a big, late breakfast. We relaxed for a bit and decided to head into the city for a swim. The pool was surprisingly empty at first, but eventually got crowded. We settled on 1,600 yards and hit the steam room. We took it easy on Saturday night in preparation for Sunday's half marathon.

This post is long, and perhaps somewhat boring, but I felt a need to capture at least some of what my week entailed. Compared to recent weeks, I was certainly more active in an effort to get back to more regular training. But it's still a struggle and I need to keep working to break out of this rut.

My next post will have details about Sunday's half marathon, including some photos.

January 17, 2009

Back on the Wagon

After spending 14 hours a day unpacking and cleaning, I finally had to take a break and do something different. I also needed a wireless router which required a trip to the Apple store so it was a great time to fit in a swim as well. I originally hoped to run and swim, but didn't get into the city until about 6pm so I opted to swim only.

I got to the pool deck around 7pm thinking I'd have the place to myself. I mean who wants to swim on a Saturday night? Apparently everyone does. The pool was packed. There were two people per lane so I picked the lane that looked closest to my speed and joined. The moment I got in, at least three more people came down to the pool so some ended up actually having to wait. Ridiculous. But I thankfully had the best lane-mates I've ever had. The girl was a bit slow, but the guy was almost exactly my pace so it worked very well. The only challenge was when the girl decided to do a few laps with the kickboard, forcing us to pass her.

Considering my lack of swimming lately and general lack of fitness, this was a really good swim. It's definitely more work for me, my heart pounds and I get breathless, but at least I can still do it and my pace hasn't suffered. I just don't get to that happy place where I feel I can swim forever. I think it will take some time to earn that back.

After 2,000 yards I toyed with the idea of doing another 1,000, but it was already almost 8pm on a Saturday night and I still had to get back to Brooklyn so I called it a day. It's a good thing I did. It took 50 minutes to get home tonight due to subway service changes. I could have walked to a station to save time and transfers, but it was brutal cold and I wanted to stay where it was relatively warm. I had planned to cook my first dinner tonight, but by the time I got off the train at 9:30 I was frustrated and tired so I picked up some wine and ordered another nice takeout meal. It's a good thing there are phenomenal restaurants in my neighborhood or I would have starved to death by now.

Distance - 2,000 yards
Time - 39:56

January 16, 2009


I've been quiet here and haven't been doing any training due to my move. There are many times in life where other things have to take priority and this is one of them.

Thankfully, my move went very smoothly. It was 4 hours total door-to-door and the only slight hitch was one of the movers getting sick and leaving the evidence on the curb outside my old apartment. Where's the Purell when you need it? Otherwise, the movers were polite, professional, on time, fast and didn't break anything. You can't ask for more.

I've been settling in but it's going slowly. It's almost as though I don't know where to start. I plan to spend the entire weekend just digging in and hoping to find some sort of order. And if I'm in need of a break and feel up to it, I may do a little training as well.

January 12, 2009

Where I've Been

It's been several days since my last post and for once it's not for lack of training. I've actually gotten in a few decent sessions lately, including a 7.25 mile run, my longest since the marathon in November. My lack of posting now is due to life conflicts. I'm moving in two days so every minute of every day is focused on making it happen. I had a two week overlap between apartments so I've been spending a lot of time in the new one painting and getting it ready. I do this for an average of 8 hours a day, then pack the remainder of the day. All of the workouts I've been able to do have been literally squeezed in between.

In addition to the longer run, I did another shorter run and a short swim yesterday. I ran to and from the gym and did a bit on the treadmill to round it out. The streets were really icy so not the best for an outdoor run. The pool was absolutely packed. I blame it on New Year's resolutions and being the end of a weekend where people likely didn't do any of the workouts they planned. My pool is small with only three lanes designated Slow, Medium and Fast. When no one is there, you can swim in whichever lane you like, but when it's crowded you're supposed to swim in the appropriate speed since there will be 3 swimmers going circular. Of course the Fast lane was occupied by a water walker and the slowest swimmer in the pool. Nice. This forced the fastest swimmer in the pool into the Medium lane, along with a moderately medium swimmer. There were three already in the slow lane. I tend to swim medium - I'm neither fast nor slow - so it seemed appropriate. But the fast guy made it really intense. He would pass me every few laps and I'd end up drafting on his feet for a bit. I felt like I was in the open water start of a race at times. The other guy was having a heck of a time keeping up. After 1000 yards I decided to stop. I wasn't planning anything long anyway and it had felt good overall aside from some minor fatigue.

Today I did a short trainer ride to try out a new saddle. I've only ridden my new Cervelo once, which is just shameful. My first ride didn't last long due to my agonizing saddle so I swapped it out for one I had bought just before the bike. It was surprisingly comfortable and held up the entire 30 minutes so I think it's going to work. I had some pain, but that's more from not being on a bike for months than from the saddle. I need to ease back in and increase my time gradually. I hope to be back to some longer rides by the end of the month.

Tomorrow is my biggest day of the week, my final day to pack and be ready for the movers on Wednesday. Even thought I imagine every minute will be filled, I will find time for a swim or run, or maybe even both. Maybe I can apply some multitasking to make it happen.

Distance - 7.26 miles
Time - 1:00:29

Distance - 4.24 miles
Time - 36:00

Distance - 1,000 yards
Time - 19:32

Biking (trainer)
Time - 30:00

January 7, 2009


At the pace we live our lives, it's nearly impossible to survive without being good at multitasking. That's how I managed to get through today feeling rather productive. Finally.

Even though I had trouble sleeping again I dragged myself out of bed early (for me at least) and was out the door to the pool in 30 minutes. I decided to run to the pool to save time and squeeze in a tiny run workout. Multitasking in action. I put on my swimsuit with a sports bra over it, a pair of fleece lined running pants, a long sleeved top and my winter running jacket. I put my ID card and keys in one pocket and my swim cap in the other. The only place to put my goggles was around my neck. I got some odd looks from my neighbors on the way out. The weather called for a "wintry mix" that was basically cold and pouring rain. Oh well. I was getting in the pool anyway, right?

I had to dodge people with umbrellas blocking the sidewalks and try to avoid puddles. I stepped in a few and my feet were cold and wet. But there's always something about running in the rain. While everyone else is trying to stay dry you get to splash through puddles and let the water hit your face. It's hard to find the motivation to go out in the rain, but once out it's not so bad.

The pool was pretty empty so it made for a nice swim. My back and arms are fatigued from painting 7+ hours a day and I've lost more swim fitness, but I was able to get it done. I kept it short. I'm afraid of pushing my body too far while I'm doing all this painting and packing so I did an easy 1,200 yards divided up into 100, 200, 300 and 400 with 50 of kicking in between each one.

I treated myself to 10 minutes in the steam room before my run home. It felt amazing. I could have stayed all day, but the painting won't do itself so I headed back out into the rain and then off to Brooklyn. I painted almost 8 hours today but finally feel excited about the progress. Looks like my multitasking paid off.

Distance - 1.25 miles
Time - 10:25

Distance - 1,200 yards
Time - 26:32

January 6, 2009


Triathletes like to believe there are very few physical limits. After I crashed my bike and broke my shoulder, I went to the gym most every day and worked out on the elliptical, rode my bike on the trainer sitting upright (couldn't lean on the handlebars) and learned to swim with one arm. I did all of this wearing a sling. I refused to accept that I had limits and couldn't train.

I set my alarm to get up and swim and instead hit snooze for an hour. After yesterday's run and marathon painting session I was beyond beat. I decided to get to Brooklyn earlier so I'd have a shot at getting home at a normal hour. I figured I could swim tonight.

But alas, I have limits. After painting for 7 straight hours and being on my feet all day except for the 15 minutes I sat on the floor and ate my sushi lunch, I'm beyond beat again. I barely have the energy to write this post. I decided to go home, make dinner and do some seated packing instead. If there's time, I'm planning a long soak in the tub.

This clearly violates my commitment to doing some form of tri training every day, but there's only so much I can push my body to do. Maybe that's not such a bad lesson to learn as I ease into what will be the most physically challenging year of my life.

January 5, 2009

New Year, New Start

I had lofty visions of starting the new year fresh with all sorts of training and healthy living. Instead I went out and ate and drank even more and then got sucked into the vortex of moving and day by day, my workouts got skipped. So this weekend I vowed to do at least one workout today before focusing on my move.

Unfortunately I didn't sleep well last night so I got off to a later start than planned. But before the excuses kicked in I went running. Friends told me to leave the Garmin at home and just run for fun. Go slow and easy. The thought of that gave me anxiety. I've become obsessed with pace, splits and the precise distance I've traveled. When you're really training those things are important, but I'm not really training just yet. I'm just trying to re-acclimate my body and mind to daily training and find the motivation that's been elusive for the past month. So I decided to wear my Garmin for timekeeping only and not check it obsessively (not that I EVER do that).

I chose a route I had previously mapped and had no idea of my pace. I just ran however it felt comfortable. I didn't take my iPod either. I have a lot on my mind these days so the quiet time was wonderful. The run felt really good considering it's been over a week since my last attempt and most importantly, it was fun. It was my first tiny step toward getting back on track.

I spent the rest of my day - until almost 10 p.m. - painting the new apartment. I was on the move nonstop and sadly didn't even finish a room. If only all that effort counted as training.

Distance - 4.8 miles
Time -41:42


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