February 22, 2009

Hyannis Half

I love a race that starts at 10 a.m. Even though I stayed an hour away, I didn't have to get up until 7. I grabbed a coffee for the drive and headed to Hyannis. The temperature was 40 but it felt rather chilly. It must have been the sea air.

I arrived pretty early and it turned out to be a good thing. I ended up waiting in the longest ladies' room line I've ever seen. I was starting to wonder if I'd even make it, but luckily I did. I hate having to pee during a race.

The start wasn't as crowded as I expected and I easily settled into my goal pace of just around 9 minutes per mile. I was running this race as a training run for IMNO 70.3 so I wanted to make it a strong effort, but not overdo it. I was a little nervous about my plantar fascia and iliotibial band since both have been acting up lately. But it turned out to be my day and aside from some minor knee pain, the race went phenomenally well.

The course took us through Hyannis and along the water with some stunning views. It was amazing to be running a race in the middle of winter and be able to taste and smell the salt air. There were just enough hills, mostly gradual ones, to make it challenging, but not overly difficult. I ran the entire race with a fellow BTer and it made the time go by incredibly fast. I've never talked the full way through a half marathon. It made a huge difference.

There were 3 races - a 10K, half marathon and marathon - all being run at the same time. We split from the 10K runners early on, but the marathon runners were doing 2 loops. There were a lot of first timers and it reminded me how special the marathon experience is.

There was a post race gathering and I got the chance to spend a great deal of time chatting with the woman who referred me to my coach. It was great to hear about her first Ironman last year and her experiences training. She has lost over 100 pounds and completely changed her life. There are some really incredible people in this sport and I had the pleasure of sharing a weekend with them.

Running (Hyannis Half Marathon)
Distance - 13.1 miles
Time - 1:57:21

February 21, 2009

Wintry Cape Cod

I’m on the Cape this weekend for a half marathon in Hyannis. I had signed up as part of group of friends that were going to ride together and stay in someone's vacation house. It was the perfect cheap winter vacation and a nice opportunity to get in an early season race. Plus I’ve never seen the Cape in the winter so I was excited for it.

But as many plans go, one by one people dropped out of the race or made other plans so the weekend had to change. I shared a rental car with a friend and found a rock-bottom cheap rate at an inn in Provincetown out on the tip of the Cape. Even though the race was in Hyannis, I figured it would be nice to spend a bit of time on the outer Cape as well.

Having been to Provincetown almost every year for the past decade, I’m fairly familiar with it. But in the dead of winter, it’s a very different place. It's pin drop quiet, many of the businesses are closed for the season and it takes on a different persona since most of the people in town are either locals or those who still come out every weekend despite the weather. But one thing is exactly the same. It remains one of the most strikingly beautiful places I've ever been to. There is just something special about this place.

My schedule called for an easy 15-minute run to keep the legs loose, which would be a pace of 10:08 per mile or slower. It took longer to dress and prepare for this run than it did to actually do it!

After the run I headed to Hyannis for the race expo and to meet up with a group of people I’ve met through BT. We went to a local place for drinks and dinner after picking up our race numbers. It’s always so nice to meet fellow triathletes, many of whom I’ve interacted with on BT but haven't had the chance to meet in person. It was a great pre-race gathering that made the loss of the group house seem not so bad after all.

The plan for the rest of the night is to stretch, hydrate, stretch and get some sleep. The race is just a training run for me but my plantar fascia has been acting up a bit so I just want to get through it unscathed while also enjoying the course. After all, I didn’t come all the way out to the Cape for nothing.

Distance – 1.62 miles
Time – 15:59

February 20, 2009

Justifiable Slacking

Up. Down. Up. Down. This has been the theme of the week. I had another 2,400 yard swim on the schedule today and just didn’t feel like doing it. I went out with friends last night and was tired as a result so I didn’t spring out of bed ready for a workout. I played that mental game all day where I went back and forth between justifying skipping it and berating myself for being lazy and not sticking to my training plan. In the end, I decided to skip it. I had a very stressful and tiring week and this early in my training, a missed swim isn’t going to do much damage. I have a race this weekend so another off day might actually do my body some good.

There. I justified it.

February 19, 2009

Frozen Toes

Due to some unexpected personal conflicts, yesterday's scheduled 9-mile long run didn't happen. There was just no way I could do it. It was a reminder that life sometimes gets in the way of training and you have to learn to deal with it and move on. So today, I jumped back into it.

After last week’s 1:45:00 on the trainer, I was desperate to get my bike outside for this week’s brick even if it meant suffering a bit. The forecast called for upper 40s/low 50s, but with wind that would make it feel 10 degrees cooler. That was good enough for me. I woke up to the sun shining and birds singing and couldn’t wait to get on the bike. I ate, had coffee, got my gear together and layered up. I wore my thickest socks, tights with bike shorts over them, a long-sleeved base layer, my neoprene cycling jacket and an ear band under my helmet to block the wind. I figured I’d be fine.

As my luck would have it, I stepped out the front door and noticed rain drops on the stairs. Rain was not in the forecast at all. With my current fear of biking, riding on slippery streets wasn't my idea of a confidence builder. I stood there for a moment and didn’t know what to do. I missed yesterday’s workout and if I had gone back inside, today’s would have consisted of more than 2.5 hours on the trainer. I locked the door and decided to go for it. I rode cautiously (as usual) all the way to the park and luckily the rain stopped shortly after. I proceeded to do the 3-mile loop multiple times and stopped every 3 or so for a mental break and once for a gel. I was feeling pretty comfortable and even allowed myself to get up to 27mph while in the aero bars. Granted I was freaking out inside, but I did it.

The sun never really came back and after 20 miles or so I was freezing. I had lost all feeling in my feet from my toes to my instep and realized there was no way I could run on those feet if I kept going. I decided to ride home and do the remaining 10 miles or so on the trainer.

I got my bike set up and still could not feel my feet. The discomfort was overwhelming. I had to put hot water in my bath tub and stand in it for a few minutes. I got a stabbing pins and needles sensation as the feeling came back and my feet literally turned purple. Ouch. But after drying off and putting my socks on, my feet finally felt normal. I hopped on the trainer and started to ride. Every minute felt like 5 and it was a massive effort to keep going after having been outside. I managed to ride 5 miles and decided to cut the ride short. I just didn’t have the mental energy to push through another 5.

I did a quick change and was out the door for my run. I actually read my training plan this time and realized there was a pace set for my brick runs so I paid closer attention this time. I guess it was a good thing I wasn’t aiming for another fast run because I just didn’t have it in me today. Time dragged on and I just didn’t feel like running. The wind was gusty by then and made me miserable. It was a very long 3 miles, but I got it done and my legs felt ok aside from a bit of fatigue.

This winter/early spring training is very challenging both mentally and logistically but I know I need to do it for my upcoming half ironman. I’ll be arriving at the start undertrained for sure, but sufficiently trained nevertheless. It won’t be my fastest race, but it will be a massive accomplishment for me.

Distance – 30 miles
Time – 1:59:14

Distance – 3 miles
Time – 27:26

February 17, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

Today was all about speed, which is a departure from my usual training approach. Since I didn’t make yesterday’s swim, I had to do it today along with a running speed workout. I never do speed work. That might be why I’ve had to struggle so much to get faster. I started with the run, which consisted of 10 1-minute anaerobic intervals with 1-minute rest intervals of walking or light jogging. I did this on the treadmill at a 2% incline. My coach has set my anaerobic pace at 7:14-8:00/mile so I set the treadmill at a 7:19 pace. This workout was a lot of fun. With the warm up and cool down it only took 27 minutes yet felt like a really good effort.

I changed and immediately got in the pool for another speed workout, the first I’ve ever done in the water. It called for 6x100 yards with a 30-second rest interval to complete one set with 4 sets total. The 100 was supposed to be anaerobic pace, which for me is 1:35-1:45/100 yards. I managed to pull off a 1:41 on my 500 time trial but sensed it may be difficult to achieve that again, at least right away. I swam as hard as I could while still paying attention to efficiency and form and managed to come close at 1:46-1:49 per each 100. However, by the last set I was dragging. My heart was pounding during this entire workout, which I suppose was the point. It felt good. Pushing myself in the water is something I haven’t yet tried so it’s all new territory for me.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this swim workout is that for the first time ever, I got to swim in the fast lane. I was actually the fastest person in the pool. Of course it was 4 in the afternoon so the other fast people were at work, but still. I was proud. I was in the medium lane with two others who were slower than I and actually had to switch with a slower guy in the fast lane. It was a little victory I'll carry with me for awhile.

Distance – 2.75 miles
Time – 27:00

Distance – 2,500 yards
Time – 45:18

February 16, 2009

Flip Flop

After a lovely rest day yesterday my schedule called for swimming and strength training today. I also needed to pick my bike up from the tri shop in the afternoon so I planned to swim later in the day. This forced procrastination ended up not going well for me. At first it seemed kind of nice. I got some painting and cleaning done, both things I've needed to do and haven’t prioritized lately. But as the day went on I got less and less motivated to get to the gym for my swim. And sure enough, I finally realized I’d never have time to do the distance called for in my plan and still make it to the tri shop before they closed. Great. I had screwed up another day. So I checked the schedule for Tuesday, which called for run and bike workouts, and decided I’d go get the bike and flip that workout with the swim.

Even with this clever change of scheduling, I almost skipped the bike workout. Folks, it turns out I’m still incredibly lazy. I finally forced myself to do it and once started, it went by quickly and I enjoyed it. It consisted of some drills and intervals so it wasn’t just another pedalfest on the trainer. The time was done before I knew it. Thankfully at least one of my weekly bike workouts will be like this so it should keep things interesting.

Distance – 9.33 miles
Time – 42:00

February 14, 2009

Mentally Draining

People fondly refer to their bike trainers as "drainers" much like the treadmill gets labeled the "dreadmill." As much as we all hate these torture devices, at one time or another we equally love them because they allow us to train through the cold, miserable winter months. My first brick of the season was scheduled for today, a cold, miserable winter day. This meant I had to spend 1 hour and 45 minutes on my trainer before heading out for a short run.

I've always enjoyed brick workouts and usually look forward to them, but not today. I sat here looking at my bike, procrastinating in every way possible before finally getting dressed and hopping on. I decided up front that I would take a couple breaks to make the time go by more quickly. I had a few episodes of Sex and the City followed by Kona 2007 ready to go. Now all I had to do was ride.

It started out slow, then blissfully moved along after a bit before screeching to a stop quickly after. This rollercoaster would continue throughout the entire ride. I stood up every 20 minutes or so and got off after 45 to refill my water and sit an Uncrustable out to thaw.

I had my "transition" laid out and could not wait to finish this hell ride and go out for the run. When the moment finally came I was ready. I changed a few clothing items, put on my shoes and was out the door.

The last time I ran off the bike was in August at my final triathlon of the season so I didn't know what to expect. I was breathing heavily and my heart was pounding - all normal - so I kept running. I was headed toward the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and a beautiful view of Manhattan. Just before I reached it I hit my first mile and my time almost made me stop: 7:09. This was just about the fastest mile I've ever run. Ever. I was elated. I felt good and the pace was comfortable. My next two miles were a bit slower but still in the 7's. I've come a long way in a year and am excited about the year to come.

Distance - 25.3 miles
Time - 1:45:00

Distance - 3 miles
Time - 22:31

February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

For all the bad luck today could have brought, superstitiously of course, it actually turned out to be rather good. My legs felt great and the calf pain that had been nagging me since the hideous long run was virtually gone. I was getting really worried since the pain flared up to a point of barely being tolerable last night. Plus I started to feel sick and feverish after that long swim. I felt like my body just wasn't cooperating.

After a relatively sleepless night and being awakened by the meter reader, I ended up going back to bed and sleeping in. This turned out to be the best decision. I felt much better later in the morning and decided to go ahead and give the bike test a try.

It was a short, simple workout designed to establish my average heart rate for the effort. I did a 5-minute warm up, then 30 minutes of the hardest riding I could sustain, a few minutes of regular riding and then a cool down. I had to do it indoors on the trainer so speed/distance were not a factor.

I felt slow at first but definitely felt stronger as the test progressed. My bike fitness has a long way to go but I can already feel it improving after just a few rides. That's the great thing about biking. It's fairly easy to earn it back.

I was aiming for 10-15 minutes of riding after the test, but my legs said stop after 7 so I cut it short. I have a long workout on the schedule for tomorrow, my first brick of the season, so I thought it best not to push my luck.

Biking (trainer)
Time - 45:00

February 12, 2009

The Aftermath

After resting my legs and sleeping in compression socks with compression tights over them, I woke up feeling pretty good. Well, my legs anyway. I was still really tired. I had started to feel fatigued after the run and it worsened as the night went on. But my legs felt ok given the beating they had taken.

My coach had me cut the planned strength training today. He also said to shorten my swim if I wasn't feeling up to it. I rested throughout the morning and decided to swim in the afternoon. I planned to do the full workout, but was prepared to scale back if I was too tired. While I felt heavy and sloppy in the water, it otherwise went surprisingly well. I was barely able to maintain the pace I was aiming for, but I completed the full workout, a total of 2,600 yards. It was a fun workout. I did a short warm up followed by 200, 300, 200 with 20-second rest intervals. I did this three times and then cooled down.

I lounged in the steam room afterward as a reward. While I was still sleepy, the swim made me feel better. I have a bike test on the schedule tomorrow and my coach said not to do it unless my legs (and me) are feeling better so I will continue to rest and hope for the best.

Distance - 2,600 yards
Time - 51:15

February 11, 2009

They Can't Always be Easy

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. The temperature was already in the 5os by mid-morning and it was sunny and perfect. I had a long run on the schedule and was actually pretty excited about it. After all, my last two long runs were done on the treadmill (10 miles) and in frigid conditions (Manhattan Half Marathon).

I had breakfast and did some stretching. My legs were pretty tight when I woke up. Some time passed by so I had a snack before dressing and heading out. As I jogged down my street I felt really happy. It was great to be in the sun and be outside in shorts and a t-shirt. As it would turn out, that was the last time I'd be happy on this run.

I had worn my lightweight arm warmers and was overheating after only 1 mile. I knew I'd never make it 11 miles like this so I ran back and left them in the mailbox of a friend's place. The run to Prospect Park was ok, albeit all uphill and as noted before, slightly ugly through parts. I reached the park and picked up the pace and all seemed well until I started to get thirsty. Really, really thirsty. I didn't have any small bottles of water so I had brought money intending to simply buy some when I was ready. However, this is Brooklyn and unlike Central Park where the water sources are plenty, after deciding I needed water, I ran for about 2 more miles before I finally found a place to buy it. At this point I had been running for over an hour and was totally dehydrated. I ate my Hammer Gel, which by that point wasn't even close to enough, and downed about half the water. To add insult to injury, the small Poland Spring that is $1 just about everywhere in NYC was $1.07. Ah, nothing like having 93 cents rattling around in your running shorts. I ended up tossing it on the ground eventually.

I started running again after this slight detour and within moments the goosebumps came. I was freezing and couldn't seem to get my body temperature back up. I had wanted to switch my running direction in the park, but ended up at the opposite corner from where I began so I had to keep going. In an effort to change it up and avoid some hideous hills, I took a road called Center Drive thinking it would transverse the park and drop me on the other side. This was not the case. Not only did it lead to another slow uphill, but it ended right back where I started, in the corner of the park where the deli was. I nearly cried. At this point I was exhausted, in pain and still a bit cold. I just wanted to quit. I actually took a walk break to get out of the park, and I never walk during my long runs. If I weren't 2 miles from home I would have just quit.

I suffered through the remainder and was thankful it was at least downhill, although even then I couldn't generate any speed. My legs just wouldn't cooperate. I have never been more happy to see a run end.

After two days of really phenomenal workouts this was a huge letdown. Not only did I not enjoy it, but I was afraid of injury the entire time. It's too early in the season to be battling issues. I spent the rest of the day on the couch with my legs up and immediately contacted my coach to let him know it did not go well. Now my fingers are crossed that the next workout goes better.

Distance - 11.01 miles
Time - 1:39:33

February 10, 2009

Time Trial

Day 2 called for some more testing along with a bike workout. Normally I'd do the bike first and then run, even if they aren't back-to-back, but I wanted my legs to be ready for the run test so I decided to do that first. The test called for a warm up followed by a 3 mile run as fast as I possible (and safely) could. I did my warm up by running to the subway, doing some stretching and joint mobilization while I waited for the train, then another short run from the subway to the Hudson River path. I chose to run there because it's straight and relatively flat, which was what the test called for.

Once again, I was nervous. I have no idea why. My goal was to run around an 8-minute pace and maintain it the entire 3 miles. But I haven't been running a whole lot lately and I certainly haven't been running fast so I was just going to give it my best. I hit start and took off. I was running pretty fast and could feel it was a harder effort than I'm used to. I wasn't sure I could keep it up but I figured it was worth a try. I hit mile 1 in 7:29 and was thrilled. It was much faster than I was aiming for. I started to drag a bit after 1.5 miles and hit mile 2 in 7:41. Not bad. I really felt like I was dragging on mile 3 but had a split of 7:38. My total time was 22:49, the fastest I've ever completed 3 miles. I was pretty happy.

It was hard to find the motivation to bike after that, but I hopped on the trainer for an hour. It was an interval workout alternating every 5 minutes between 100rpm's and 70rpm's. The 100 intervals nearly killed me since my bike fitness is lagging to say the least, but the 70's were nice and easy. Having the intervals made the time go by so much more quickly. I actually enjoyed it.

I seem to be off to a good start and I'm enjoying having solid goals. Little by little I'm gaining back my motivation.

Distance - 4.01 miles
Time - 32:39

Biking (trainer)
Distance - 12.33 miles
Time - 1:00:00

February 9, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3

I started working with my coach today, which means I started training for the Ironman today. Most of my life will now revolve around my training goals. I'll inevitably have to give things up to make room for the hours and hours needed to prepare for the race. But I'll also be gaining a lot. This will be a year full of new experiences.

The first week involves a test in each of the three sports to establish my training zones. Just like every test I've ever taken, they're making me nervous. I want to do my best not only to see what I'm capable of, but to be sure my training is challenging enough. I tend to be lazy and need a push to work to my full capacity. But I also don't want to push too hard and give a performance I have no chance of repeating.

First up was my swim test. I needed to swim a 500 yard time trial after a warm up to establish my pace per 100. I love swimming so I was looking forward to this. Yet despite that, my motivation dried up and I procrastinated for hours. I finally dragged myself into the city around 5:00. I checked in at the gym and noticed a sign apologizing that the pool was closed due to a pump issue. A pump issue?!?! Are you kidding? I didn't know what to do. My immediate thought was to turn around and go home. I can't control the pool closing, right? But then I thought about the bike and run workout on the schedule for tomorrow and realized my entire week would be screwed up and it was only the first day. I sat for a minute to think. I decided to get back on the train and go to the pool at Columbus Circle. I couldn't let an obstacle stop me on Day 1.

I'd never been to this location before so I had no idea what to expect. The pool was 25 meters instead of yards so the distances were slightly different than what I'm used to. There were two swimmers per lane so I approached the medium lane and let one of the swimmers know I was joining. Instead of the usual cordial acknowledgment she said, "I'm almost finished," and continued swimming. I was incredibly annoyed, but after the whole pump debacle, I really didn't mind waiting a minute or two. But then she proceeded to do 200 and take a rest. I was just getting ready to join when she started up another set. Now I was really annoyed. Her lanemate said he'd had "words" with her and she was rude and unpleasant. Lucky me. Finally, the lifeguard approached and told me to enter the lane. She said the girl had no right to tell people when they could and could not start swimming. So I hopped in next to the guy and waited for her to reach the wall before taking off. She tried to say something but I ignored her. She had wasted enough of my time.

I did 200 meters to warm up, rested for a bit and started my 500 meter time trial. I felt really good and made an effort to keep up a strong pace throughout. My lanemate was pretty fast so that also helped. When I finished and saw my time I was pretty excited. I've been averaging about 2:00/100 yards and on better days, between 1:55-1:58/100 yards, but on this swim, I averaged 1:41 so it was a huge improvement for me. Especially considering I could barely do 100 in 3 minutes just six months ago.

I also had strength training on my schedule today so I dried off, put pants over my swimsuit and hit the gym. I got some strange looks but it was the only way to fit it all in given how late it was. I left feeling really proud that I found a way to make it work. The old me, the lazy one I still battle every day, would have just gone home. But the new me wants to do an Ironman.

Distance - 500 meters (546.81 yards)
Time - 9:13

Distance - 700 meters (765.53 yards)
Time - 13:37

February 8, 2009

Maiden Voyage

Almost 6 months after crashing my bike and 4 months after bringing my new tri bike home, I finally took it out for its maiden voyage. I was terrified. I've been simultaneously wishing for and dreading this day and it was finally here. It was in the mid-50s so I had no excuse.

Given my discomfort with being on the bike, I woke up as early as possible so I could beat the crowds. I stood in front of my building on this beautiful morning and just couldn't find the courage to clip in and go. I must have stood there for minutes before finally taking off. I've never ridden my bike outside. I've never ridden a triathlon bike at all. And I've never ridden on aero bars. When you ride in aero, you can't have your hand near the brake. If your hand is near the brake, you can't change gears. So you have to learn to smoothly switch between the two. I started out slow and easy and stayed out of the aero bars. In fact, the first time I got down on them it just happened automatically. I was riding uphill on the way to Prospect Park and suddenly found myself resting on my elbows on the bars. I finally felt comfortable enough to try and just did it. All in all I'd say it was pretty intuitive, but the ride is a bit jerky at first. Given the fact that a handlebar jerk caused my crash I was a little hesitant.

I rode very cautiously on the first loop and took a quick break to see how I was feeling. I got a little more comfortable on the second loop and went straight into the third. With each loop I got more and more comfortable. It was an incredible feeling. I felt like I was facing a huge fear head on and finally taking steps to get over it.

I was able to stay in aero about 75% of the time, but it hurt my neck and back so long stretches were tough. Plus the park was getting more and more crowded so there were times I just couldn't do it. And speaking of crowded, I got drafted a few times. This never happened in Central Park. I'd get this feeling someone was right behind me and sure enough, there would be some guy decked out head to toe in Team Discovery gear hanging on my back tire. I know what they were thinking: "Oh, there's a girl with a Cervelo, she must know how to ride." So they'd pedal up and draft for a bit before realizing I actually ride like an old lady. That got rid of them.

Old lady or not, I did it and that's all that matters. It was a huge milestone for me and by far the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. It's time to let go of my fear, try to forget about my accident and learn to love biking again.

Distance - 20.15 miles
Time - 1:23:39

February 7, 2009

Thawing Out

Finally. The forecast called for temperatures in the 40s and I was giddy. I planned a long run, my first since the half marathon, to coincide with this balmy weather. I also planned to meet a friend at the gym that morning for a workout followed by a big diner breakfast and it turned out it would still be chilly in the early hours. My plan was to hit the gym, do some warm-up, stretching and foam rolling, have the big breakfast, digest and then run mid-day when the temperatures were up. This seemed foolproof until I ran into my neighbor on my way out the door, which meant I made it in time only for the big breakfast. But no harm done, I was up and out and ready for a good day.

It was sunny and 40ish around 1pm so I headed out. I did my first run over to Prospect Park, then one loop and back. This was about 6.5 miles so I did another couple miles around my neighborhood. I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt considering my total lack of running recently. My legs felt strong, I was keeping a decent pace and I actually enjoyed it. If only all long runs could be like this.

I worked up an appetite that justified sampling some of the Italian specialties in my new neighborhood. Homemade lobster ravioli with vodka sauce was on the menu. I won't have to struggle to keep up my carb intake during Ironman training for sure.

Distance - 8.65 miles
Time - 1:14:59

February 6, 2009

The Birds

I was up early today for my second pilates session and in true Kristin form, was running late. I am a brisk walker all the time, but even more brisk when I'm late. I was making good time until I ran into a slight roadblock. This woman was strolling ever so leisurely and apparently unable to walk in a straight line. To make matters worse, she positioned herself right in the middle of the sidewalk and had a very large purse. I tried to be patient and wait for my chance to pass, but she kept weaving back and forth and made it impossible. So I politely said "excuse me" and practically had to scale a mountain of garbage bags to get by. As I passed I heard her huff and say "well" loud enough for me to hear. Clearly she disapproved. And at that moment, a pigeon, or some other type of nasty NYC bird, pooped on me. It just dropped out of the sky and hit my coat as though it were some sort of karmic punishment for feeling the need to pass the slow-moving lady. But then I remembered it's actually good luck to be pooped on by a bird so I just smiled and kept going.

The pilates session was even better than yesterday. My abs were a bit sore from the first session, but not intense enough to interfere with today's workout. I liked the instructor as well. If I'm able to continue this I'll be sure to work with her. Afterward I did a quick treadmill 5K to remind my legs that I'm a runner (sometimes). It was boring, but felt good.

I had the kick-off call with my coach this afternoon to decipher my training plan. Once it was explained to me, it all seemed much simpler and I am excited to get started. It's really great to know I have someone to guide me on this journey and hopefully get me to the start line injury free and happy. Ok, maybe happy is a stretch.

Distance - 3.1 miles
Time - 26:28

February 5, 2009

Amateur Hour

I finally found the motivation to swim and arrived at the pool around 11. The pool is always fairly crowded midday but today was ridiculous. And the number of swimmers was the least of my worries. It seemed to be amateur hour. The pool was full of people who:
  1. Didn't notice or care about the little signs noting "slow, medium, fast'
  2. Didn't know how to properly enter a lane and make their presence known
  3. Had no idea how to swim properly in a circular configuration
  4. Were so sloppy they hit and kick people UNDER the lane divider
  5. Didn't know how to be generally civil and considerate to their fellow swimmer
Despite the frustrations, I was determined to stick to my workout. I wanted to do at least 2,000 and if there was time or I was feeling it, I was going to go for more. But when I started on my third big set, I finally got tired of the idiots in the pool and decided to call it quits. I still got in a nice workout so it was ok.

Prior to amateur hour I did a free one-on-one pilates session at my gym as part of my new membership. My instructor was a no show so I got to work with the studio director. She felt it was too rushed so she booked me another complimentary session tomorrow. Sweet! I really enjoyed it despite my general hatred of core work. There were some moves where I could feel three or more muscle groups working and since it's based on breathing and rhythm, the time flew by. I'm looking forward to giving it another try tomorrow.

Distance - 2,200 yards
Time - 43:05

February 4, 2009


This week is two things - a "get back into it" week, and my final week of blissfully unstructured training for the rest of the year. Once Monday rolls around I'll be on a structured plan from my coach and deviation isn't encouraged. So while I had planned to swim today, I didn't feel like it and took advantage of these final days of flexibility and did whatever I wanted. I decided to do another trainer ride and a quick run around my neighborhood to get a feel for the streets here.

I was much more comfortable on the bike this time. I'm slowly getting used to my new bike and am anxious about taking it out on the streets this weekend. I'm excited, but nervous and have no idea what it will feel like to ride again.

My run was nice. There is no better way to explore than on your feet and it was great to avoid another boring dreadmill run. I have not been able to get my legs into running this week. They have felt tired, tight and heavy pretty much every day. But today's run was mean to be short and light so I didn't stress over it.

I ended the day by meeting up with a triathlon friend who is now a neighbor. I'm really enjoying spending full days in Brooklyn and just doing whatever I feel like. Since those days are numbered I will be sure to make the most of them.

Biking (trainer)
Distance - 7.51 miles
Time - 32:00

Distance - 3.45 miles
Time - 30:09

February 3, 2009

No Pain, No Gain

That fear I mentioned yesterday was very much justified. I woke up this morning feeling like a truck ran me over. My back was totally wrecked and my legs surprisingly sore. The back was definitely from the workout with the trainer and the legs were debatable - could have been the run (the first since the half marathon), could have been the squats. Either way, I wasn't feeling up to the long swim I had planned for the day.

After procrastinating as long as humanly possible, I decided to put my bike on the trainer and give it a try. I'm not sure what took longer: (1) Motivating myself to ride, (2) Actually getting my bike on the trainer and set up to ride, or (3) The ride itself. I finally got it going and put on Ironman Kona 2007, by far my favorite race coverage yet. As soon as I started pedaling I could tell my bike legs no longer existed. I was fatigued in less than 5 minutes and had to take a little break after 10. I ended up stopping periodically to get out of the saddle and give my legs a rest. I had some trainer set-up issues that gave me a chance to take a much needed break after about 20 minutes, then the remaining 40 minutes were a struggle for sure. It was painfully apparent I've barely biked for the past few months.

And speaking of painful, I was still hurting later in the day so I went to the gym for some light core work and tons of stretching and foam rolling. The foam rolling is excruciating but makes a huge difference. I worked on it for almost 45 minutes before a nice steam to wrap it up. I was feeling a bit looser and in less pain by the end of the day.

Biking (trainer)
Distance - 14.17 miles
Time - 1:00:00

February 2, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback. Not Yet.

Starting today I vowed to stop being unmotivated and lazy. I'll try to be as structured as possible, but my only hope is to do something every day. I need to stop making excuses and end this rut I've been in. So for today, the plan was to do some running and meet with a personal trainer at the gym. I was offered a free session and figured, "why not?"

I ran to the gym, about .80 miles, then did the one hour session with my trainer Ted. Ted is a triathlete so it was nice to get to work with someone who understood what my goals were. We did three sets of workouts alternating muscle groups in each. We mostly focused on my trouble areas - my shoulder and hips. It felt hard, but I didn't think it was too crazy until we went to do the core work and I was shaking uncontrollably. I was happy to finish and do another short run home.

After digging deep for the motivation, I headed out for my first run over the Brooklyn Bridge. I needed to pick up my road bike from the shop in Manhattan so I decided to turn an errand into a workout. It's about 1.3 miles to the bridge from my place, a little less than a mile over and then another mile and change to the bike shop. I ended up running just under 3.5 miles total. It was crowded in spots, but I never get tired of seeing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. It's quite a sight.

I was sufficiently tired from my first day back and a little fearful of how I'll feel tomorrow, but you have to start somewhere.

Distance - 5.17 miles
Time - 43:24


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