April 25, 2013

Traveling and Training, or Lack Thereof

In the past 14 days, I spent nine of those days traveling - first to St. John, then to London. Neither of these were quick jaunts and each involved a full day of travel on each end. It may seem like poor planning or general torture, but it was worth it.

As most athletes know, training during travel is difficult. Luckily I'm early enough in my season that a couple missed weekends won't hurt tremendously, but it still took a toll. St. John didn't allow for much at all aside from swimming. Running was difficult due to the small size of the island, steep grade on just about every street and scorching heat and humidity. I ran once, about 40 minutes, and otherwise did lots of snorkeling and a little swimming.

London should have been easier, but jet lag and an overload of pints actually made it harder. At least in London I was on my feet all day, every day, often logging five plus miles. I also did one good run in Hyde Park to justify filling a quarter of my suitcase with running clothes.

Now that I'm back I feel pretty beat up. The sunburn from St. John has finally healed and the stiffness in my legs from the London flight is subsiding, but I'm suffering from jet lag and I've caught a cold. I likely taxed my immune system way too much and am now paying the price. Luckily it's a "neck up" cold so I'm attempting to stick to my normal training schedule.

The key will be getting back out on the bike as soon as possible. It's the area I'm lacking in the most due to the miserable spring we're having in the Northeast. But that's no excuse. It's time to step up the miles and get ready for my first tri of the season just six weeks away. In the meantime, I'll reflect on my trips and the fun I had, and look forward to the next. I love travel too much to give it up because of training. Life is about finding balance.

April 18, 2013

Weekend in Paradise

Enjoy French wine with this fine selection.

Last weekend I went to St. John with two of my best friends. They were married on the island a year ago and graciously invited me to crash their anniversary trip. It was amazing. Since it's one of the most beautiful places I've been, I thought pictures would do a much better job than words.

Upgrade! Nice way to start.

Finally arrived. It's a long journey, but well worth it.

We had this amazing view from our deck.

Dolled up for dinner...

Typical sunset...

The lovebirds

Chris making the famous Painkiller drink!

View from a little hike to Ram's Head

Blue cobblestone beach

Sugar mill ruins

Tons of snorkeling... Look closely for the sea turtle at the bottom!

My daily view

Sadly on the ferry back to St. Thomas for the journey home

But just a few more Painkillers at the airport!

There was eating, drinking, swimming, snorkeling, laughing, laying on the beach, and even a little bit of running. Aside from being too short, it was the perfect weekend.

April 15, 2013

April 10, 2013

Losses and Gains

It seems spring has finally arrived in New York and I'm loving every sunny minute of it. Tuesday's forecast demanded another outdoor ride.

It feels great to bike again. After consecutive years of logging thousands of miles in the saddle, I dropped to just over 1,000 in 2012 and didn't ride at all after summer. I spent countless hours doing intervals this winter on the trainer and it has definitely eased the transition back to the road. After just two rides I feel stronger and I'm anxious for more.

I'm also improving with my personal trainer. After a few sessions I feel slightly stronger and a lot less sore. We'll be doing two hours a week for at least six weeks, then will evaluate how to move forward.

And finally, my losses this season are something to celebrate. A full year out of the sport really took a toll overall, including some not-so-surprising weight gain. When I started training in January, I immediately lost around three pounds, but then hovered at the same weight with no improvements. So six weeks ago I started taking it far more seriously and the results have been great. I've lost six more pounds and about three inches off my frame. Five more pounds will put me at my typical Ironman race weight, but typical just isn't good enough for me this year so I'll aim to lose five more beyond that. Seeing this reminder pop up on my computer this morning was a good motivator.

I'm off to St. John tomorrow! Open water swimming, running, snorkeling, cocktails, the beach and two of the most amazing friends you could ask for. I can't wait.

April 7, 2013

Opening Day, Personal Trainer, Hill Repeats and Wine School

Fine wines and a wide selection of spirits also.

I had such a phenomenal week. It kicked off with the launch of our new company, Zipz, at Citi Field opening day. This was our first customer!

Then I finally pulled the trigger on hiring a personal trainer. I want to make serious fitness gains and just can't seem to do it on my own. I did a session with Travis last fall and loved it, but wasn't sure I wanted to make the commitment. After two workouts I am thrilled with my decision. I can barely get out of bed or dress myself, but I love it.

The weather remains challenging, but today I decided to HTFU and get outside on the bike. I'm fairly sure the last time I rode outdoors was August last year, so it was a huge step. And it involved the customary stop for espresso and muffins.

The ride was incredible. Just over 51 miles and nearly 3,000 feet of climbing, including two rounds of hill repeats on a one-mile climb. I never do repeats even though I should, and I loved it. I battled a 20mph headwind all the way back to the city and still loved it.

Next up is my new wine class, starting tomorrow. Taking a class, regardless of what it is about, is always great. Since graduating from college I've had very limited classroom experiences aside from a long stretch of Spanish classes and a short stretch of Italian classes, neither of which resulted in me being bi-lingual.

Wine has been a hobby of mine for quite some time. I started exploring it in my 20s and fell in love with it in my 30s, and spent the past few years really delving in and ultimately led me to my new job. I know a lot, but have wanted to formalize it more for quite some time so I signed up for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) intermediate level course and start tomorrow.

On top of that, I logged a very solid 12-hour week of training and I'm off to St. John in just a matter of days. Life is really, really good.

April 4, 2013

It Finally Clicked

I've struggled on and off all year with consistency. I've been training since December 31 and have had many ups and downs, definitely some fitness gains, but still didn't feel like I was training for an Ironman. Then last week, something finally clicked and I stopped making excuses. After another spotty week I decided to at least commit to completing my long run and brick before the weekend was over.

I wasn't ready to ride Saturday even though the weather was good, so I did my long run and really loved it. Unfortunately, I still wasn't ready to ride Sunday. My bike has been in the basement for months, covered in dust and spiders. The weather was a bit bleak, which wasn't motivation to dust off the bike, kill the spiders and bundle up. Yet I had a 40 mile ride and 3 mile run to tackle. So I decided to HTFU and do it indoors, albeit with a creative twist.

My longest trainer ride to date was 60 miles. I was forced to do it while training for an early-season half Ironman when a blizzard struck. Forty seemed much more tolerable, but still slightly dreadful, so I decided to break it up into a triple brick. I did:
  • One hour bike, 10 minute run
  • One hour bike, 10 minute run
  • Thirty-four minute bike, remainder of the run
My neighbors surely think I'm crazy since I dashed in and out in running clothes every hour for three hours.

This week has been spot on. I have nailed every workout and started working with a personal trainer. I've been plagued by injuries resulting from weakness and imbalance, and feel like I have no trouble gaining endurance, but I struggle with strength. I hope strengthening my body will improve my performance overall and ultimately keep me injury free. After just one session, I'm in so much pain that simple tasks feel monumental... and I love it. I feel like I'm making a positive, necessary change. 


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