March 31, 2009


After a mini-meltdown yesterday, I ended up getting 3.5 hours of sleep last night. I've often had trouble sleeping but this was unique. I was incredibly tired, exhausted really, but soon 20 minutes turned into an hour, then two, then three. After lying in bed from 11pm-2am, I finally decided to get up and at least do something productive while I waited to get tired enough to sleep. So I packed for New Orleans. Check another item off the list.

I pulled it together today and tried to focus on solutions, starting with scheduling a call with my coach. His advice was just what I needed. He grounded me back in the reality that I've done the training and one bad week can't undo it all. We talked through ways I could minimize my shoulder pain while trying to get it close to 100% for Sunday. And some of the time we just talked, about my upcoming schedule, IMWI, basic training stuff. For one hour I was calm, my confidence was returning and I was able to laugh. I immediately felt better.

I also found a work solution. In this incredibly challenging week, a lot of great things are happening. I'm meeting all my clients and discovering just what an amazing team I work with. I proposed to my supervisor that I take a day off Thursday, but not really "off" since I will commit to doing all scheduled meetings, including a 7am call to China and also be sure anything due to her or the client will still get done. She agreed without hesitation. She seemed genuinely concerned I was having race week issues and her flexibility means a tremendous amount to me. These two solutions changed everything.

I was supposed to do a 30-45 relatively aerobic run with two random pickups, but didn't get home until 10pm so I just did what I could. My pace was slower than usual due to the darkness and uneven streets so the pickups didn't really happen. I was truly exhausted and bogged down by the big client dinner including wine. I could have skipped the run. It was late and I had the no sleep card to play. But I just as easily could commit to it and make it happen even if the conditions weren't ideal. These training sessions are so much more than activity, they have become a test of who I am, what I'm made from. And the "who" I discovered I am over the last two months is someone who doesn't quit.

So I adapted, bounced back and hopefully made a small impact on my training. I hope take some of this calmness with me through the race and finish.

Distance - 3.37 miles
Time - 30:30

March 30, 2009

Freak Out

While I haven't felt particularly nervous about the race itself, I am incredibly nervous about simply getting there. Work is proving to be a major challenge this week so the meltdown officially began today. I sent a desperate, pathetic email to my coach begging for advice. On top of schedule challenges, which include a client dinner tomorrow night and a 7am start to the day Thursday, my shoulder pain has escalated to a frightening level. After being so careful for so long, how can this be happening? I have an overwhelming urge to cry and feel sorry for myself, but instead I'm trying to focus this nervous energy into a plan to deal with these challenges. I will:
  1. Do as much preliminary packing tonight as possible. I worked late so I'll order takeout and tackle the task.
  2. Try to chip away at this week's "to do before I go" list by finishing the easiest 1-2 items on there.
  3. Stretch my shoulder thoroughly and ice it, even if that means I have to go to bed with ice on it because there was no other time. Commit to stretching and icing it every day this week. It has to get better. It just has to.
  4. Try to sleep at least 6 hours tonight in preparation for my long day tomorrow. I'll be up early for training and then have a minimum 12-hour work day.
  5. Dedicate all of Wednesday night to finishing packing and the major to-dos. With a 7am start on Thursday I don't want to leave too much to Thursday night.
Even as I write this on my blackberry during my subway ride home, I realize I must sound panicked and frantic. But in many ways just writing this is the first step to channeling some of the negative energy into a more positive place. Thank god today is a rest day.

March 28, 2009

The Swim

I haven't been swimming much lately in general and it has all but dwindled with my taper. The swim used to be a source of intense fear, but not so much anymore. I know I can comfortably cover the distance and I know how to manage open water so the only thing I'll worry about is navigating a crowded start. I'm not sure I'll ever be 100% comfortable with that.

I was super lazy all day today (a bit too much fun last night) so I didn't get my swim in until early evening. It was a short and easy one, 3x500 at a moderate pace with a short warm up and cool down. It was uneventful, which I suppose is good at this late date. My shoulder seemed ok despite the lingering pain.

I wish I had more time in the water before race day but it looks like my next swim will have to be my Friday warm up in Lake Ponchartrain. How's that for a reality check?

Distance - 1,913 yards
Time - 36:41

March 27, 2009

In Good Company

My coach isn't big on switching training days due to weather, but when I woke up to sunny skies, birds chirping and warm weather, I decided to switch today's swim with tomorrow's bike/run. I have suffered on the trainer more than anyone ever deserves and needed a break.

I had to take my old road bike out since my tri bike is in New Orleans. That made for an interesting ride. I realized I miss the road bike just as I've been suspecting lately. The only downside is that it hurt my shoulder to put all that pressure on it after coasting in the aero bars over the past few months. I only needed to ride 25 miles so I headed off to Prospect Park for the loop after loop after loop after loop... It's fairly boring. After about 13 miles I was headed up the "big hill" and these guys next to me started to talk and the one guy said, "well I was going to draft this girl up the hill for a little break..." and I joked about how slow I was going, that I was tapering for a race. It turned out he was tapering as well for a big bike race. These guys were serious cyclists, the kind who ride fast in tight packs right on each other's wheels and tell tales of their broken bones and staples in their heads. They were urging me to sign up for some races. No thanks.

I'm not big on training with others but this was really fun. We chatted for countless loops and before I knew it, my time was up. I caught a first name, Eddie, but will be more likely to recognize his bike before I'd ever recognize him again. I didn't even get the other two guys' names. They wished me luck in my race and I exited the park. I hit 27.5 miles as I returned home.

My run today was short, just three miles, and at a relatively easy pace. I'm feeling a little tired from tapering, and perhaps I was overchatted and underfueled today in particular. But I know my body is getting ready to race so I won't stress over it. It was just so wonderful to get out on my bike and actually enjoy it. That's something I haven't been able to do since August. Maybe times are finally changing.

Distance - 27.5 miles
Time - 1:45:17

Distance - 3 miles
Time - 25:33

March 26, 2009

I Want

Since writing about my taper training is just as boring as doing my taper training, I decided to skip the details about yesterday's 40 minute run and today's hour on the trainer and instead talk about some of the goodies I wish I could treat myself to.

First up, a single speed. I want to be able to ride around Brooklyn and have a bike that is truly just for fun. I've wanted one for awhile, but now I really want one after seeing this.

Next, and this is where I really enter fantasy land, I realized I want a road bike. I absolutely love my tri bike, but think I'll want a road bike for after my Ironman training. This one would suit me just fine.

Or maybe this.

Unfortunately I can't afford either of them right now so I'll just have to keep dreaming. But one purchase definitely in my future is the race wheels I picked out months ago and never actually bought. I wanted them for next week's half Ironman but will have to do without. I'd like to get them soon so I can do a couple races on them before the Ironman.

This taper needs to hurry up and finish so I can get back to training and quit plotting my path to the poor house.

Running (Wednesday)
Distance - 4.53 miles
Time - 40:00

Biking (Thursday)
Time - 1:00:00

March 24, 2009

Rethinking This Taper Thing

My excitement over taper was short lived. I didn't even attempt to get up early to do my bike workout even though I was fairly certain doing it after work would be a challenge. Sure enough I ended up working late and got home even later, but somehow managed to get it done even though the idea was about as exciting as a root canal.

This is where the taper boredom began.
  1. It was late. I didn't even start the ride until 8:30. Not ideal.
  2. My tri bike is on a UPS truck somewhere between NYC and New Orleans so I had to dust off my piece of junk old road bike that has a new life as a commuter bike. Also not ideal.
  3. The effort level of this ride was so minimal I nearly fell asleep.
I know there is a method to this madness and I'll be in a much stronger place as a result, I just need to adjust my expectations to better deal with it. I'm also going to need to adjust my diet so I don't pack on taper pounds on top of the Christmas pounds I'm already lugging around (still).

On the brighter side I get to run tomorrow, albeit at a slow pace but at least I might break a sweat and that would be a notch up from today.

Biking (trainer)
Time - 1:00:00 easy

March 23, 2009

The Coaching Difference

When I started this Ironman journey, one of the biggest choices I made was whether or not to hire a coach. I questioned my ability to make the right training decisions. I thought about the possibility of getting injured again and wondered how I'd train through it. But most of all I was worried about the time commitment of planning my training on top of balancing it with a demanding work schedule. The only reason not to hire a coach, in my opinion, is financial. It's a luxury for many athletes. Yet when you think about the other gadgets and activities an athlete is willing to spend decent, and sometimes obscene, amounts of money on, the investment doesn't feel as big.

I did the research, got the recommendations and ended up talking to three out of a list of five prospects. I never made it past the third, Will Kirousis from Tri-Hard Endurance Sports, because I knew I wanted to hire him after our talk. We connected, he understood my goals and I liked his background and approach. This would turn out to be the best decision I've made since joining this sport.

The time I spend training is so much more focused and valuable. I've been able to see actual improvements in how I feel and perform in a really short period of time. And most of all, I actually push myself now that I have specific goals where as in the past, I might have completed the miles, but at an effort level that wasn't helping me advance. I also got sick recently and Will helped me adjust my schedule and train through it appropriately while giving my body a chance to recover. I value that real-time advice more than anything.

So for anyone on the fence about coaching, if you can afford it, do it. It's completely worth the investment. You don't need to be training for an Ironman, you just need to want to improve.

Today was a rest day and I got out of work at a decent hour as well. It rarely gets better than that!

March 22, 2009

Taper Time

The minute I finished today's 14-mile run, my taper for Ironman New Orleans 70.3 officially began. I usually dread taper, not fully understanding the physiological benefits which will ultimately improve my race. But not this time. This time I'm overjoyed that taper time has arrived. I still have a decent volume of training ahead, but with the opportunity to sleep more and have a semi-normal life.

Aside from a few unfortunate experiences, I love long runs and today's was no exception. I decided to patch together a bunch of shorter runs and keep it in Brooklyn. This allowed me to test out my new shoes, knowing I could get home for a switch if they bloodied and blistered me, and have adequate nutrition. I planned to run just over five miles before a quick stop at the "aid station," aka my apartment.

That first stretch was crowded since I braved the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, but the views always make it worthwhile. I felt good and was hitting some decent splits. When I stopped to refuel, I quickly looked at my training schedule and realized I'd screwed up my approach. The first six miles were supposed to be in my aerobic zone, 8:52-9:21/mile, with the final eight at my half marathon pace, 8:14-8:44. Oops. I had been under 8:50 for much of the first five and worried my legs would start to reflect that as I tried to push the remaining nine. So I took the sixth mile a little easier and then picked up the pace just in time to start the long, gradual climb to Prospect Park. Good times.

I decided to defy the norm and run clockwise against 99.9% of park traffic. This wasn't to be a pain, but rather an attempt to change scenery and alleviate the usual road slant. I never did quite make a full loop. Instead I turned around about 3/4s of the way to avoid the vicious wind that nearly stopped me in my tracks. Unfortunately, the wind turned around too. I felt like I was constantly running into it. This switch also caused me to grossly miscalculate my mileage in the park so when I hit 13 miles, I still had a significant distance to go just to exit the park, and another 1.5 miles or so to get home. I finished and figured I'd walk for a nice cool down. This logic lasted for about .25 miles or until I was freezing so I decided to jog the rest to generate some heat. It was super slow, barely a notch above walking, but it kept me warm for the final mile of my journey.

This weekend's training was a real confidence booster for my race. My long brick felt good and I know I will be so much better on the bike outdoors. My long swim was the best I've ever done. And today's pace was on par with my half marathon PR, even after the previous days' workouts. I never thought I'd say this and mean it, but I'm ready for the half Ironman. Sure, I could and should have trained for more than eight weeks, but I did what my life allowed and made the most of it.

Distance - 14.01 miles
Time - 2:01:34

March 21, 2009

Freak Show

You see some odd things when you spend as much time at the gym as I do and today was no exception. I did a strength session followed by a long swim. The strength was filled with the usual amount of bizarre workout behavior and the swim had a few as well. I was in the pool for over an hour so I saw a lot of folks come and go. The strangest of the bunch were these two guys that joined mid-swim. We exchanged some casual banter about how cold the pool was (it was brisk), then I started a set of 500. One of the guys was in my lane. He swam about 100, during which he stopped in the middle and had a conversation, and then got out. When turning to breathe, I noticed they were both leaving. What's the point of getting in your swim gear and getting chlorinated to swim 100 yards? I just don't get it. There was another guy doing a long workout that was written in Sharpie on a full sheet of paper and attached to a kickboard standing upright like a tombstone. I sure hope he had poor vision and didn't wear corrective goggles, otherwise that's just overkill. I manage to follow my workout on a regular sized notecard.

After the swim I hit the steam room only to find out there was very little steam. There was a woman in there who filled me in on how she thought it was broken and went through all her techniques for trying to trick the steam into turning on. I toughed it out about 5 minutes and decided to go take a hot shower instead. While getting dressed I realized her locker was right near mine. As I was drying my hair, I caught a glimpse of her in the mirror doing something with her foot. She was cutting her toenails. And not just cutting them like normal, but she had a pair of manicure scissors and was trimming and picking at all sorts of parts of her feet. This ritual went on for at least 15 minutes before she moved onto her hands. What is up with that? Why would you chill at the gym in your towel clipping your toenails and fingernails? Not only is it disgusting, but it's a massive waste of time. Very bizarre indeed.

The swim went well today. It was long, 3,100 yards total with the warm up and cool down. The first 300 was nice and easy, then I did 500 x 5 at my half Ironman goal pace, or at least I tried. I hit it on two and came pretty close on two, the other was about 25 seconds too slow. Even though I was slightly off the mark, I was still faster than I've been before and that's a big accomplishment for me. I also have to consider that I did 50 minutes of strength training prior to this swim and it was 6pm so I was a bit tired. I'm planning to do a continuous 1.2 mile swim soon just to remind myself I can do it. I think after that I'll be all set.

I dropped my bike off today and it will be on it's way to New Orleans Monday. There's no turning back now.

Distance - 3,100 yards
Time - 56:01

March 20, 2009

Torture Test

If a big part of racing is mental preparation, today's long workout should guarantee I'm ready. With the Wintry weather on the first day of Spring, I ended up doing my longest training ride indoors. I rode 60 miles on the trainer, exceeding my previously longest ride by 10 miles. Since this was a brick, I had a 5 mile run immediately following.

The Bike

In order to make it through 4.5 hours I needed:

- Two movies
- Two-and-a-half episodes of Sex and the City
- Four very short "stand-up" breaks
- My blackberry close by
- Four bottles of Gatorade Endurance
- Three gels
- One Uncrustable
- One bathroom break

The first 15 miles we're in my aerobic range so they were even slower than the rest. It took all day and yes, there were times I was bored to tears, but it really wasn't too awful until the final five miles. Those were some long miles.

The Run

After a seven-minute transition that involved layering up for the cold and wondering why the heck I do this, I started my run. I felt good and that was a relief. This ride was longer than what I'll race so it's comforting to know my legs still worked. My splits were: (1) 8:46, (2) 8:17, (3) 8:17, (4) 8:00, (5) 8:29. And once again, I experienced that joy of running.

I'm shipping my bike to New Orleans tomorrow and that really brings the reality of the race to life. I hope what I've done is enough. I hope the day goes well. I hope I enjoy it. At this point, all I can do is hope.

Biking (trainer)
Distance - 60 miles
Time - 4:29:46

Distance - 5 miles
Time - 41:53

Spring Has Not Sprung

Just when I was second guessing my decision to do another long trainer ride, I opened up the blinds to discover it was snowing. Yes, snowing. On the first day of Spring no less. Here is the forecast from

I've taken a little flack from fellow triathletes for doing so much indoor training. I've been told to HTFU and bike outside, but when it's perpetually in the 30s and 40s, and feels like 20s, there isn't enough HTFU to make it work.

I'm off for my 60-mile trainer adventure. At least I'm developing a level of mental toughness that will most certainly come in handy on race day.

March 17, 2009

Sticking to the Plan

I am absolutely determined to stick to my training plan this week. It's a high volume week for me and the schedule is a little more challenging since my coach rearranged it for a possible weekend trip I was planning. I was going to attend this big multisport expo in Boston where I also could have met my coach in person, but due to the ridiculous cost of train tickets I've decided not to go. Rather than try to rearrange my schedule yet again, I'm planning to do it as is.

I was up at 5, out the door at 5:31, on the train by 5:39, at the gym at 6:09 and in the pool at 6:15. I'm almost always running late so I was rather proud of myself. The emptiness of the pool - and the gym for that matter - in the early morning almost makes it worthwhile to get out of bed at the crack o' stupid. My workout was another speed-oriented one and I almost managed to hit my goal pace. I more than nailed it on the first interval, completing 400 yards in 6:19 (1:35/100 yards). I'm not sure I've ever gone that fast. My second set was good, but I accidentally did 500 because I was daydreaming and lost count so I shortened the third set to 300. But on the fourth I got sluggish so this one threw off my average. I did the final set in 6:34, also really strong for me. Having a coach and having really focused workouts in the pool has made a huge difference for me in a short amount of time. It's exciting to think what I might be able to accomplish before IMWI.

There was no green beer for me tonight. While everyone else got to go out and drink, I got to come home and spend an hour on the trainer. It was a really hard workout too. I had to do 8-minute anaerobic intervals at fairly low cadence, which meant I had to ride in a really hard gear to get the heart rate up. My legs were burning the entire time. By the end of this workout, green beer was sounding pretty good. But I'll have to wait because tomorrow morning is another early start and I can't get derailed from the plan.

Distance - 2,150 yards
Time - 40:03

Distance - 14.17 miles
Time - 1:00:00

March 16, 2009

Let There be Light

When I left work at almost 7pm tonight I was thrilled to find that it was still a bit light outside. It instantly made me smile to think that evenings full of light are just around the corner.

Today was a rest day and boy did I need it. My body was tired from the long training weekend. I'm back at it tomorrow at 5am with a pre-work swim to kick off my biggest training week yet! I am actually looking forward to it.

March 15, 2009

Not so Fresh Feeling

Do you ever get that not so fresh feeling in your legs after a long workout? The state of my legs today was deceiving. I had been wearing compression tights so they didn't hurt and generally seemed ok, which was a good thing since I had the second big workout of the weekend scheduled today, my 12-mile long run.

Today was the perfect day for a long run. It was around 50 degrees, overcast, light wind and only a slight chill in the air. I miss running in Central Park so I decided to do the run there. It's big enough to randomly mix up the route and keep it from being boring.

I was slightly underfueled due to the need to carry everything. Since I cannot tolerate a fuel belt, I have to get by on what I and my tiny pockets can hold. But since it was chilly I was fine. My legs were certainly not their freshest. They felt heavy and sluggish throughout the run, but I had a fast first mile split (8:18) and knew I'd have to severely back that down to avoid burning out. I eased into a nice 8:50ish pace and maintained this for the entire distance with the exception of one mile slightly over 9:00.

Being able to do this run after my long brick was a good confidence booster. I'm still figuring out what my body is capable of and know I will have some really intense training weekends this summer. Little by little I'm improving and enjoying the challenge of pushing myself to a physical limit. I've always trusted the logic that you can most certainly complete an Ironman if you commit to doing the training. Of course there are the things you can't plan for, like race-week illness or bike maintenance issues, but in general, you can stack the odds in your favor by taking the training seriously. That belief will carry me through the next 6 months.

Distance - 12 miles
Time - 1:46:01

March 14, 2009

Round and Round

Fifty miles on the trainer is not something one generally looks forward to. Every day this week I checked the hourly forecast trying to figure out if I'd be able to do even part of this ride outside. Sure, the temperature was expected to gradually rise and eventually land in the upper 40s, which is lovely for a neighborhood stroll or leisurely pedal around town, but not for a serious ride. I would have been frozen in 20 minutes and I'm sure it wouldn't have helped this lingering virus. So I sucked it up and did the ride indoors.

Long rides on the trainer are all about distractions. I started with a hands-free phone call to my parents that lasted the first 10 miles. Next I tried to watch a movie, Wall E on Blu Ray. It looked amazing and was very entertaining, but the lack of dialogue made it hard to watch while biking. After the third rewind I called it quits. I then had a five-mile TV-less stretch and realized being that alone with my thoughts just wouldn't cut it so I resorted to the old standby and watched two Kona broadcasts - 2007, my absolute favorite, and 2002.

There isn't much to say about a long trainer ride other than it's uncomfortable (to put it mildly) and fairly boring. But I did have one minor distraction. I was testing out the IMNO 70.3 nutrition plan put together by my coach based on my sweat test. I had to consume 25 ounces of Gatorade Endurance every hour, which equates to one bottle plus a couple mouthfuls of another. Thirty minutes in I had my first gel and then another every hour. It seemed like a lot, especially since I've historically underfueled on the bike, but it worked. My energy level was steady and I wasn't hungry, which was a definite first for me. I made the executive decision to replace my last gel with an Uncrustable simply because after riding for three hours, I was craving solid food. I think the most amazing thing about this approach is that I wasn't ravenous immediately after finishing. Sometimes I can barely make it off the bike and to food, but this time I felt fine. I had my usual post-workout chocolate milk and didn't eat for almost two hours.

This was my long brick for the week so immediately after finishing the ride I did a 4-mile run. I've never done a brick this long so I was worried it would be slow and painful. Not only was it not painful, but it wasn't slow either. I did a 7:46 on the third mile and kept it in the low 8s for all but the first mile. But beyond that, it was fun. It reminded me of the pure joy of running. I caught myself actually smiling for much of it. And at the end of the day, isn't that why I do this?

Distance - 50 miles
Time - 3:40:34

Distance - 4 miles
Time - 32:43

March 13, 2009

Back Among the Living

After 7 days of viral plague, I finally feel better. I got up at 6 a.m. to swim and had the usual first-thing-in-the-morning cough and congestion, but I figured it would pass on the subway ride to the pool. As always, I was late getting to the gym so I was in a huge rush. I ran down the stairs, praying the pool wasn't packed. I can usually tell by the amount of splashing I hear.

Luckily it was relatively slow. I was able to join a lane with just one swimmer and get going. My workout was simple - swim 1500 by doing 3 x 500 with a one-minute rest interval. This was in my aerobic pace as well so I got to take it easy. But in a matter of seconds it was obvious I hadn't been in the pool for 10 days. Talk about sloppy. I struggled to maintain decent form and my breathing was off as well. I was holding my breath a bit, which was not a good thing with this cold. And speaking of the cold, I had to stop a few times at the wall to cough. Nice. At least I wasn't blowing my nose in the water. That wouldn't be good since an official pool rule is - No expectorating of mucus allowed. Just reading that makes me want to rethink swimming with my mouth open.

I really miss swimming. It seems to be dropping off the schedule a lot lately and it's not only an area I need to improve, but it's a sport I really love. It's how I got into all of this and I don't want to see it diminished to a fraction of my training plan. As soon as I'm on the mend and have my new schedule under control, I'd like to spend more time in the water.

Distance - 1,500 yards
Time - 30:00

March 12, 2009

No Sweat

After being bombarded with tales of people getting pneumonia, dying after seemingly harmless illnesses or ending up in the hospital, I finally decided to see the doctor. I normally wouldn't go to the doctor for something like this because I was sure it was viral and there's nothing a doctor can do for that.

They say you know your body better than anyone else and sure enough, I was right. The doctor confirmed I have a virus with no signs of infection. He recommended I continue to rest, have some chicken soup and lots of fluids. The fever, which lingered throughout the day, is just a sign my body is fighting back. It's about time.

I did a sweat rate test tonight so my coach can develop my nutrition plan for the half Ironman. This was supposed to be a one-hour run, but given my sickness, he spared me and shortened it to 30 minutes. I had to weigh myself naked before the run and then again after to see how much weight I'd lost. It was chilly and windy outside, plus I was running way slower than normal so I wasn't sure I even sweated, but sure enough, I was down .8 pounds. I'll share this number with my coach and see what he comes back with.

It was nice to run even though my energy levels are pretty much rock bottom. Nevertheless, it's a good sign I was even able to do it.

Distance - 3.27 miles
Time - 30:00

March 11, 2009


Today was not a good day. I woke up super early and discovered I had a massive migraine that was most likely brought on my the equally massive sinus pressure I had. I dragged myself out of bed for some water and Advil Cold and Sinus, then dragged myself back to bed. I slept until 9:30 and to my dismay, the headache remained. It was so severe I ended up laying on the couch with an ice pack on my head while I waited for round two of the pills to kick in.

Two hours later I was feeling somewhat better. By late afternoon I finally decided to attempt a trainer ride. I was supposed to run but there was no way with the coughing and the headache. So I hopped on the bike to do tomorrow's workout. I did the first round of drills, the first moderate interval and the first harder interval. About halfway through the harder one I totally lost steam. I was beat. I knew I'd have to stop when it was done.

It was frustrating to have so little energy. This was supposed to be a bigger training week for me and it has slowly fallen apart. I got an email from my coach with a modified schedule for the remainder of the week and weekend. I was relieved to see he wasn't mandating rest days as that was his initial reaction until I provided more details about my illness. He reduced both the volume and intensity of my Thursday and Friday workouts, and reduced the intensity of my long weekend workouts. The only thing I lost was the swim I was supposed to do Sunday after my long run. I can live with that.

I started to feel a little funny so I took my temperature. Sure enough, I have a fever. I'm going to bed early so I can get as much rest as possible. I'm so tired of being sick.

Time - 27:30

March 10, 2009

Knowing When to Say When

As much as we hate to admit it, triathletes get sick. And getting sick often means training interruptions. This is incredibly frustrating and hard to accept. When I woke up at 5:45 this morning the first thing I noticed was a deep, sharp chest pain. The lingering congestion must have made its way down there and settled in overnight. The second thing I noticed was the equally painful cough that came with it. I was surprisingly wide awake so I sat there for a moment and pondered what to do. It's so hard to make the right decision for your overall well being, but I knew what I needed to do. There was no way I could attempt my bike workout with that level of fluid in my chest. So I stayed in bed another hour, not really sleeping but resting nonetheless, and hoped I'd feel better later.

My voice remained almost nonexistent all day and I ended up working far later than planned. I had rearranged my calendar to have tomorrow off instead of Friday due to client meetings so despite the lateness, I decided to do the ride. I figured I could sleep in tomorrow.

I felt relatively good but had a difficult time getting my heart rate up to my anaerobic range. This was a new workout and involved a lower cadence in a much harder gear so it definitely felt like work even though I'm sure I was performing at a lesser capacity. It was nice to feel my legs burn as well.

I finished the ride, had homemade chicken noodle soup, soaked in the tub and got ready for bed. I hope the turnaround is on its way.

Distance - 13.22 miles
Time -54:00

March 9, 2009

Thank God for Rest Days

Yesterday and today were rest days and I have never been more thankful. I normally get bored on rest days, particularly two back to back. The only reason I even had two was because my coach adjusted my schedule for work, which means I won't get a weekend day off anymore. I had toyed with the idea of making up my missed swim yesterday but I was still feeling under the weather and decided to take it easy. By the end of the day my voice was fading fast and I felt like I was finally coming down with the rest of the cold that started up on Friday.

Sure enough, I woke up this morning to partial laryngitis. Speaking above a certain decibel was simply impossible and I sounded horrible. It might have been ok if I weren't in meetings, largely conference calls, the entire day. By the end of the day I was toast.

I'm hoping this is just a mild cold/throat thing and will try to stay on track despite it. I'm setting the alarm for 5:45 so I can do my trainer ride before work. I hope this is on the way out vs. settling in. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

March 7, 2009

Spring is in the Air

Just in time for my longest brick workout yet, spring temporarily arrived in New York. It was 60 by mid-morning and would reach almost 70 by afternoon. I had a ride partner lined up but only for 20 miles because Prospect Park has such a small loop. Since I had 40 miles on the schedule I did 20 on the trainer first. These long rides are the most boring because aside from monitoring my heart rate, there is nothing to break up the monotony. A quick break at 10 miles and quickly enough it was time to head out.

It was unbelievable outside. I was immediately way too hot in what I was wearing so I ended up putting on my short-sleeved running shirt. I've ridden outside a handful of times this winter but never when it was this nice. It was the first time I actually looked forward to summer and long rides that take half the day. I used to love biking and hopefully I will again.

The park was packed. Everyone was out enjoying the day after a long and miserable winter. Navigating the crowds was good practice for me although I couldn't get into aero much as a result. Nevertheless, every ride is a big step and anything to avoid another 1.5 hours on the trainer is a good thing.

My run also went really well. I'm not sure I've ever done a brick this long so I wasn't sure how my legs would react, but they felt pretty good. I ran through the neighborhood and ventured over to Red Hook to check it out a bit. Aside from struggling to find 4 miles to cover, this was a really easy run. I was averaging a much quicker pace than I was aiming for and it felt very comfortable. If the brick workouts are the most important and make the biggest difference in race fitness, I may not be doing so bad after all.

I was dying to eat and there was no time for formalities. It was already 2:30 so I threw some pants on over my shorts, put my biking jacket back on and went straight for food. It's amazing how hungry you get after biking and it's even more amazing how much you can eat. We had planned to hit the diner for a late breakfast and lots of coffee, but caved into the lure of the outdoor cafe as we passed by a restaurant. There was also the lure of the beef shortrib hash on the brunch menu and that sealed the deal. To top it off, they served the biggest cups of coffee I've ever seen. This really was the perfect Spring day.

Distance - 40.13 miles
Time - 2:41:30

Distance - 4 miles
Time - 34:29

March 6, 2009

Friday. Finally.

I'm not sure I've ever been happier to have Friday arrive. My new work schedule includes Friday "off." I can sleep in a bit, not go to the office and have minimal work commitments. I didn't realize how much I needed the down time until I woke up and tried to swallow. My throat was swelled and sore, a sure sign my body is having adjustment issues. I went from plentiful sleep, low stress and convenient training times to limited sleep, high stress, a crowded subway commute, sick office mates and early morning training. I wasn't surprised and I wasn't happy.

I slept in a bit and did my bike workout, more interval work on the trainer. It momentarily gave me a boost, but I could tell it was short lived. I had considered making up yesterday's swim, but after talking with my coach, decided to take it easy. He recommended rest, gargling with Listerine and drinking some bizarre herbal tea with anti-viral properties. Hey, anything's worth a try, right?

Distance - 9.81 miles
Time - 42:00

March 5, 2009

Good Intentions

Before starting this new job, I vowed I would do the majority of my training in the morning to avoid missing it due to long days. But my hours up until today had been manageable so I decided to do my swim after work. I did the math and it was going to be virtually impossible to get the full workout in and still be in the office by 9. So I got some extra sleep and packed up my gear with the best of intentions.

But as luck would have it, today ended up being the long one and I didn't leave the office until 8:15. After an 11+ hour day I just couldn't do the swim. It would have meant starting around 9pm and getting home around 11. At some point I have to draw the line and do what feels right for me in my life overall.

I know these days will happen, it's inevitable. All I can do is try my best to minimize it and find a way to keep the training from taking over my life and my life from preventing the training. A lot of people say the hardest part of an Ironman is the training. Even in these early stages I know exactly what they mean.

March 4, 2009

Running in Place

When you think about it, the treadmill is a nifty invention. You can avoid inclement weather and other hassles, plus you can watch TV while logging your miles. This can be a good thing unless you were me this morning running 10 miles on a treadmill in front of the TV showing the seemingly endless Core Rhythms infomercial. After about 45 minutes of hip swiveling and testimonials, inclement weather was sounding pretty good.

I actually detest the treadmill and normally wouldn't run so far on it, but my new job and schedule left me with no other choice. My plan for the month was based on my previously flexible schedule and included a long run each Wednesday. Sure, I could have moved it to the weekend, but since it was 10 miles I figured it was manageable before work. The treadmill was the method of choice because of early morning darkness and temperatures around 20 degrees or less. This was my second treadmill 10 miler this winter so I knew how to prepare. I was the only runner with a gel, a stick of Body Glide, 2 towels, an iPod and a BlackBerry, but it all made the experience more tolerable.

After the first 5 miles I took a quick bathroom/water fill-up/Body Glide break before tackling the second 5. I have to say, it wasn't that bad. I don't know if I'm just getting used to indoor training or if I'm getting mentally tougher, but I was pretty proud of myself for sticking to the plan and doing it. It felt great to have covered 10 miles before most people had finished their first cup of coffee for the day.

Distance - 10 miles
Time - 1:29:17

March 3, 2009

Double Duty

5:45 a.m and the alarm already. Didn't I just go to sleep? These early mornings are going to take massive adjustment. I took a look outside and it was ugly. Snow and ice packed on the streets due to a steep drop in temperature and the "feels like" according to was -3. I had a moment to decide - get up, walk to the gym (12 minutes) and do the speed workout I had planned and freeze to death in the process, or sleep another hour and do the speed workout after work and before my bike workout. Easy decision.

The extra hour of sleep was bliss and when I made the frigid walk to the train I knew it had been the right choice. But as the end of the workday neared I became tired and unmotivated. Typical. This is why I'm suffering through the early morning workouts. It's the only way to guarantee I'll get it done. But tonight I rallied and was at the gym by 7:15, done with my speed work by 7:45, home by 8:30 and off the trainer by 9:20. Thank god for leftovers. I was ravenous by that point.

I'm really enjoying the speed and interval training. The workouts are short, but intense, and feel so much more valuable than my former "do it for the sake of doing it" workouts. The run consisted of two 10-minute anaerobic intervals with an easy rest interval. I ambitiously started at a 7:30 pace, but ended up bouncing between 7:45-7:52 for most of it. That's still pretty fast for me. The bike was also a series of drills and intervals so the time flew by.

While it's not impossible to do a double workout on a weeknight I know the reality of my life and schedule. So many things could have happened to prevent me from getting this done. I was lucky today, but tomorrow I'm back to 5 a.m.

Distance - 3.3 miles
Time - 30:00

Distance - 8.54 miles
Time - 40:00

March 2, 2009

Winter Storm Warning

Here we are... my first day at a new job, my first attempt at early morning training and on a Monday no less. The one day of the week where Murphy's law is sure to be in effect. Even though it's the first week of March, New York was slammed with one of our worst snow storms yet.

I woke up at 5 a.m. and was out the door by 5:40 to swim. The snow on my front steps was ankle deep so I had to grab onto the railing and walk down sideways to keep from riding down on my butt. The subway platform was surprisingly crowded for how early it was. Where was everyone going at 6 a.m.? It got even more crowded as we waited 30 minutes - yes, 30 minutes - for a train. The first one that appeared was all iced over and didn't stop. I later learned that the trains were so icy they couldn't open and close the doors properly. Way to be prepared MTA. A train finally came and I arrived at the gym about 30 minutes later than I planned.

It was the least crowded I've ever seen it. Maybe it was the snow or maybe people in the West Village sleep in, either way it was perfect. There was only one person in the pool when I started, only a handful mid-swim and no one but me for a short while. I wish it could always be that way. I was swimming quite well despite the fact that I hate mornings. But the delayed start forced me to end early and cut my swim short. It was the only way I could make it to work on time and it was my first day after all.

This was another speed workout and I once again found it hard to hit the anaerobic goal pace established by my test. I did it for the first few sets and kept it up on and off for more than half, but was off by 2-3 seconds per 100 by the end. It's a huge challenge for me to push myself in the water and I've definitely improved, but I'm anxious to prove that my test wasn't a one-time occurance I'll never be able to repeat. There's always next time.

Distance - 2,050 yards
Time - 37:23

March 1, 2009

Week of 2/23 - Cliff Notes

There are a couple reasons I haven't posted for awhile. First, I was way busier than expected trying to wrap up personal things before starting a new job on March 2. But most importantly, I was on a "rest week." I have one of these every 3 weeks or so on my schedule. It sounds nice in theory, but it was rather dull and uninspiring and while the rest did feel good, my motivation sank to a new low as a result of the reduced activity.

The week began with a rest day on Monday, which was actually perfect since it was the day after my race and a long day of driving back from Provincetown.

involved an easy 45 minute ride on the trainer and a quick 2 mile run. A nice workout but not a difficult effort.

I was in the pool Wednesday for my only swim of the week, 1,400 yards done in 4 sets of 300s with a 200 warm up. This was actually rather nice since I'm not a huge fan of being in the pool for an hour or more.

But Thursday is where things began to slide. My schedule called for strength training. Just strength training. It seemed easy enough, it would take an hour or less of my day and should have been a nice break. But as the day wore on I just couldn't bring myself to go to the gym. The effort of dressing, carrying gear and getting to the gym didn't seem worth it for this short workout. So I skipped it. I felt guilty but the motivation just wasn't there.

Friday seemed to be looking up. The weather was nice so I decided to take my bike out for the easy one hour ride on my schedule. But by the time I got out the door, the wind had picked up to gusty levels and the sky was dark. Rain was coming. I worried I'd get caught in it so I was nervous to start. Then a series of unfortunate event occurred in the first 10 minutes that forced me to abort the ride. I was really upset. I don't need more setbacks on the bike. I did my 5 mile run instead, which turned out great. I ran on the Brooklyn Bridge and along the waterfront, views I will never get tired of. I intended to finish my ride on the trainer but I had dinner plans with friends and was out of time. Another workout missed.

Saturday and Sunday were rest days. I honored that on Saturday but was feeling rather anxious by Sunday so I hopped on the bike for 45 minutes to redeem one of the week's lost workouts. It was an easy effort and I still felt rested.

I'm sure I'll look back and wish for another easy week like this when I'm immersed in long workouts and even longer work hours next week.

Totals for the Week:

Distance - 1,400 yards
Time - 26:45

Time - 1:40:00

Distance - 7.46 miles
Time - 1:05:28


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