Thursday, July 30, 2009

There Is A Buzz At The Gym

Last night I was all ready to fix my popped tube, so I got the tire and tube off the bike, looked at the rip in the tube (quite impressive - over two inches long!). I also noticed that part of the tire looked a little bit questionable. The wire edge of the tire was exposed meaning that the rubber had sort-of blown off around the edge of the tire. I wasn't quite sure what that would mean. So, I put a new tube on and put the tire back on the wheel. I pumped up the tube and Drew happened to notice that there was a bulge on the tire. I googled this problem and saw that it can sometimes be fixed by deflating the tube and sort of trying to move everything around. When I was doing that, I realized that the tire damage was worse than I initially thought and that a new tire would be required. At least, that's what I think in my very limited opinion. I've brought my tire to work with me today so that after work I can head over to Toga to see what they think (I'm not sure if there is a way to repair this or if it's just time for a new tire). I really can't believe my luck!

Although, I guess I don't have the worst luck in the world ... yesterday while I was swimming I was sort-of wishing that I had a heart rate monitor so that I could see how hard I was working since sometimes when I'm swimming on my own I know that I don't push myself as hard as I could. I mentioned that to Drew and he said that he had never returned the heart rate monitor he had bought for himself on E-Bay (it turned out that it was a women's instead of a men's) and that if I wanted to try it out, I certainly could. So, last night, I tried out this Polar F6 heart rate monitor and worked on setting it all up. Drew made us do 10 push-ups as a test to see if it was working or not. It definitely was. My heart rate went from 80 to 100+.

Because of my busted bike tire, I was unable to go to the Terrier brick this morning. I had thought it would be raining so it wouldn't be too much of a loss, but of course, the morning was just fine. Drew woke up really early this morning and left for the gym before 6 AM. I had set my alarm for 6, but didn't get up until about 6:20. I really didn't want to get out of bed, but then I remembered that I could test out this heart rate monitor some more, so off to the gym I went. Of course, I had been planning on doing a brick, so I had my tri shorts and Terrier tri top with me, which was a little bit of a funny outfit for the gym, but there wasn't too much I could do about that.

I met Drew at the gym and did some strength stuff in the "boy area" with him. Right after I got there, we bumped into Drew's trainer, Billy. Billy was training another girl this morning and the four of us chatted for a minute. The girl said told me congratulations on training for an Ironman and I told her that I was pretty sure that congratulations weren't in order quite yet as I haven't decided one way or another yet. She then told me that there is a buzz going around the gym about me and the Ironman training. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'm going to take it as a good thing.

This was the workout I did with Drew:

Bench Press:
10 reps at 45 pounds
8 reps at 55 pounds
7 reps at 55 pounds

Incline Bench Press:
8 reps at 45 pounds
8 reps at 55 pounds
8 reps at 55 pounds (but Drew helped me with the last two)

Chest Flys:
12 reps at 40 pounds
2 sets of 12 reps at 50 pounds

Skull Crushers:
3 sets of 10 reps at 35 pounds

When we were done with those exercises, Drew was ready to head home and I said that I'd just go with him. Because he was leaving for Africa this morning and won't be back until August 8th, it seemed more important to hang out with him for a little while longer than it did to do cardio. I'm pretty sure I've got my priorities straight on that one.

Just for the record, these are today's stats: 127 calories burned, Max HR 130, Average HR 99, duration: 35:53. Nothing too remarkable there, but a little interesting nonetheless. I'm much more interested in having this for cardio. I'm hoping to make it to the gym tonight, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have after getting the tire situation taken care of. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pools & Whirlpools

This morning I met Laura at the 92nd Street Y for a swim. We were able to use our passes with no hassle at all. We walked into the locker room, which was much nicer than the locker room at the Westside Y (although not nearly as big!). The showers also looked promising. We walked out into the pool area, which looked nice as well.

We hopped into the water and started swimming. The one weird thing I noticed right away about the pool was that the walls of the pool were really high. Most pools have somewhere that you can hang onto the edge in the deep end (more of a ledge), but this pool just had a tile wall all the way around. It sort-of made it harder to turn around at the end of the pool. Probably an argument to do flip-turns could be made here, but they just really make my ears hurt. As an aside, I did get some ear plugs at the NYC Triathlon Expo, so maybe I should try those out with flip-turns sometime soon.

Again, I didn't really have a set swimming plan in mind. I did think that I wanted to keep working on this more straight-leg kick to see if it can help me with my times, so I thought should do a lot of kicking today. This was what I ended up doing:

200 Free (warm-up)
300 Kick
200 Free
300 Pull
200 Free
300 Kick
200 Free
250 Pull

1950 Yards = 1.1 miles in 42:05

I thought that the alternating between swimming, kicking and pulling was actually really helpful. It let me concentrate on either kicking or pulling and then I would try to put it all together when swimming.

I had asked Laura at about 7:45 if she would want to get out 5 minutes early from our swim so that we could go check out the whirlpools that were next to the pool. She hesitated for only a second before saying yes. We got out of the pool at 7:55 (I had to cut my workout a little short) and headed over to the whirlpools. Stepping in was so nice! It was warm and had jets. I could have stayed there all day long, I think. Of course, we only stayed in for about 5 minutes before heading to the showers. Next time we go there, however, I'm definitely going to plan on staying in those whirlpools for a longer time and will have to schedule my swim around my whirlpool time!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This morning I got up for the Terrier run. When I looked at the weather, it said it was 72 out, which seemed okay. The part I didn't see was that it was ridiculously humid out. I decided just to walk to the meeting spot since I was so exhausted I felt like I was sleep-walking. I actually felt like I shouldn't be operating any heavy machinery (luckily that wasn't an option), but I was so tired that I was a little nervous about my results today.

We had a bit of a smaller group today because so many people were most likely recovering from the NYC Triathlon this past weekend. We did our normal strides workout to start. We did 16 strides total (12 long and 4 short), which is a total of about 0.56 miles. It didn't take long before I was sweating up a storm. I literally felt like we were swimming through the air it was so humid. We finished up the strides and headed over to the starting place ("S"), which is 1.2 miles.

The run over there was when I started to realize that I might not be cut out for all of this humidity stuff and if it's like that at Westchester, then I'm going to be really worried for myself. I know it takes time to get used to it, but I was not very comfortable running today. Once we got to the starting spot, we were broken up into groups based on what sort of race we are training for. The Olympic group was supposed to do 3 x 880, recover for 2 minutes, jog back half-way and then finish running for the last 440 (total 3 miles).

I hated the running today. I did the first one there and back okay. One thing that is hard for me is that there isn't much difference (if any) between my jogging and running pace, so I just plod along at my regular pace the entire time. Once I got half-way through the second set and was doing the 2:00 recovery, I was thinking that I could just do this one and go home. I was really ready to quit and give up. Drew has been asking me recently to rate myself on a scale of 1 to 100 on where I am about signing up for the Ironman Switzerland. I've been hovering somewhere just above 50 for the past few days. Today, while running, I was at a 15. I was thinking that if I can't do these short runs in humid weather, I'm not sure why I would ever think that I'm cut out to run a marathon in August after doing the other two legs of the triathlon.

I did do a little bit of walking today, just to try to cool down a little bit and prevent myself from overheating, but I finished the workout running and I was so incredibly proud that I didn't give up on the workout or myself. (And it also made me think that maybe I'm not too crazy for thinking about the Ironman since I didn't give up).

In total, the running (not including strides) was 4.2 miles today, which I did in 39:39 (9:26 pace). I'm really happy with that pace considering the fact that I was tired, sweaty, and mostly miserable while running and I even took a few walking breaks in there.

I walked home and made myself a smoothie right away. Drew was at the gym and I tried to hold out and wait for him to get home, but I couldn't do it. I would have made him a smoothie and saved it for him, but I really only know how to make one size and then there wouldn't have been enough for either of us to be full. He seemed a little miffed when he got home that I had already had my smoothie, but he got over it pretty quickly, I think!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back At The NYSC

After this morning's workout didn't happen the way or I planned (or at all!) I knew I was going to have to rearrange my schedule for the week and try to get in a swim this evening at NYSC. Now, this pool isn't so great in the evenings. It's usually packed with people and no one circle swims, etc. So, I didn't have high hopes for this swim workout, but as always, something is better than nothing.

I got there around 7:30 and as expected, the pool was quite crowded. Someone with a reservation at 7:30 didn't show up, so the lifeguard let me go in the reservation spot. He did tell me that it was someone else's reservation, but didn't really specify what that meant for me. I got into the pool at 7:38 so I thought I would have until 8:08 to swim. I didn't really have much of a swimming plan, so this is what I ended up doing:

360 freestyle
180 kick
180 pull
360 freestyle
180 kick
180 pull

1440 yards (0.81 miles) in 28 minutes

The distances are funny because the pool there is 18 yards long, so the freestyle sets were 20 lengths and the pull and kick sets were each 10 lengths of the pool. After my last kick set, at 8:03, the lifeguard said I had to get out in order for the people who had reservations at 8:00 to be able to swim. I got out but mentioned that he hadn't specified that I would have to get out before my 30 minutes were up. I was able to sneak into the lane next to me because two girls were sort-of splashing around and I asked if I could just finish up and they didn't mind at all, which was awesome of them.

In the end, I'm glad I got a workout in today and didn't give up and have an extra rest day. It's not what I was planning for, but life doesn't normally go according to plan, so you just have to adjust accordingly!

Character Building

This morning I woke up early in order to get in a longer bike ride (my plan was to ride for an hour and a half). Drew was even kind enough to get up early too and come with me. We also were going to try out our new bike and tri shorts that we got over the weekend and see how they felt on the bike. Of course, the best laid plans never really work out. I had gotten dressed, eaten half my Clif bar, put on my shoes and walked over to pump up my tires only to discover that my back tire was flat. Ugh!

I took a look at the tire to see if I could figure out what had happened. I found a tiny piece of glass in the tire, but after I got the tire and tube off the rim, I couldn't find a puncture in the tube. However, something seemed to be malfunctioning with the valve. I decided my best option would be to just get ride of that tube and start with a new one. I put the new tube and tire onto the rim (why on earth does it take so long to get the tire back onto the rim!?!) and pumped up and was finally ready to go 45 minutes later. Clearly, I'm not the fastest tube changer, but I figure I'll only get faster as time goes on.

So, Drew and I head out for a shorter version of our original bike ride. We ride to the park and then are riding for less than a minute before I hear the sound of another flat tire! And then about 10 seconds later POP! My tube popped! I didn't really know why that happened or what had gone wrong, but after a quick Google search when I got home, it looks like it was most likely my own fault and that the tube was pinched between the tire and rim. After the popped tube, I picked up my bike and walked home with Drew. He offered to carry my bike for me, but I said that it would build character and I'd just do it myself. I got back to his apartment and took a really long shower to clean off all the bike grease that I had gotten all over my hands, legs and arms.

I'm hoping to make it to the pool at the gym later tonight. I'm just bummed that I got up early and had to miss a workout.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New York City

This morning Drew and I woke up at 4:20 to a downpour of rain. That put a bit of a damper on the idea of getting up early and watching the Pros and Elites compete in the New York City Triathlon today. However, after waiting it out for about an hour, it was no longer raining and I decided that we should just get up and chance it. If it started raining again, we could always go home. Luckily, the race ended up being delayed about 20 minutes, so we didn't miss anything.

We staked out a pretty good spot, just south of the swim exit. We were able to cheer on the athletes as they were running to transition and then also cheer them on as they were coming out of transition on the bikes. I had made a sign to cheer on my fellow Terriers that were competing today. I had a fantastic time just cheering everyone on. I can't even begin to describe how exciting it was to be cheer people on and have them smile or laugh. It also was pretty amazing to be able to cheer people on and have them pick up their pace a little bit. I felt like hopefully I was helping them reach their goals just a little bit faster when that happened. I know when I got out of the water at Staten Island, the last thing I felt like doing was running, and my transition area wasn't a mile away from the swim exit either!

I will say that the most inspiring group of athletes were those who were racing with disabilities. To see people so committed and determined that they were not going to let anything stand in their way of the finish line was pretty awe-inspiring. After watching all of the women and most of the men do the swim and head out on the bikes, we decided that we would head over to Central Park to watch the run.

We lined up along the Cherry Hill fountain area and were able to cheer the runners on for their last quarter-mile into the finish. When one of the disabled (blind) athletes ran by us, he held out his hand for high-fives, which we gave to him. Aaron Scheidies finished the race in 2:02:15. That is an amazing effort, especially considering the man who won the entire race finished in 1:45:50!

Next year's NYC tri is on July 18. If I don't sign up for this Ironman, this race is definitely on my list for next year. I think that it would be pretty awesome to race in my own city and there are just so many spectators cheering you on that it would make the race that much more fun as well as keeping you motivated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Explorer, I Am Not

This morning I slept in until the very late hour of 8. Even though it's not that late, it still felt like a bit of a treat. I got up and putzed around for a little while to get ready for my bike ride. I had asked Drew if he would want to come, but since his calf still isn't feeling so great, he opted to skip the ride. Instead he decided that he would go to the gym. He was going to check out the other one that is close to my apartment that neither of us had been to yet. He did say that he was thinking of just going to the regular one since he wasn't sure if he wanted to go out of his comfort zone, but in the end he did go to the other one.

I decided tht I would go for a ride up the West Side. I'm not sure that the ride helps me with my speed a lot, but it is just a really beautiful ride and after doing mostly loops in the park, it's nice to have a change.

Laura and I were talking yesterday about going over the George Washington Bridge and riding in New Jersey, but I think we are both a bit intimidated by the bridge itself and getting over and back safely. From what I've heard you are able to pretty much follow everyone else, but it still makes me nervous to think about getting lost.

So, I headed out up the West Side on my ride. On my way North, I noticed the swim start for the New York City Triathlon tomorrow. They were also setting up the transition areas and getting ready for the race. I think that it would be such a fun race to do in my own city, so we'll have to see how next year goes.

When I got to the base of the GWB, I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep going and ride up the very steep hills. I stopped for just a minute at the bottom of the first hill, had a squirt of Gatorade and decided that there is only one way to get ready for this Westchester triathlon. And that is to practice hills when possible and spend more time in the saddle itself. So, up I went. I'm not going to lie. When I got to the last (extremely steep) hill and I rode past someone who was walking their bike up the hill, I felt a lot better about myself.

At the top of all these hills is a pedestrian walkway that heads to the entrance to the GWB. I thought about going up there to see what it was like and how confusing it might be, but instead I just kept riding. I got to the end of the pathway and turned around to head home. Again, I passed the pedestrian walkway heading to the bridge. I really wanted to go up and see what it was like, especially since I was already there, but I just couldn't push myself that far out of my comfort zone today. All I can say is maybe next time.

It was really interesting to me that all along the river, people were already staking a claim to the picnic tables available. All before 10 AM! I guess that there must be a lot of competition for them and families must have big BBQ spreads. I'm sure it's a fun way to spend the day, but I'm not sure I'd want to get up quite so early to have a BBQ!

All in all, my ride was 17.07 miles, which I did in 1:18:58 (12.97 MPH average).

I got home from the ride and Drew reported back that the other gym had a very small cardio area, but a bigger weight room. We quickly took showers and then headed out to the NYC Triathlon Expo. I've never been to one before, so I didn't know quite what to expect, although I was hoping for some free samples.

The Expo was held in a hotel ballroom. We walked in and just started filling out little sweepstakes forms. For the record, I fully intend on winning a computrainer as well as a trip to Jamaica! We got some free stuff too: race belts, Muscle Milk, Cytomax recovery drink, and t-shirts. Definitely a fun time. Toga (LBS) had a booth at the Expo and Will (the guy who sold me my bike) was working there. When we walked by the first time, he was really busy, so I just waved Hi. The second time, when we were heading out, we were able to stop and chat with him for a bit. He said that the Westchester course is really tough (which made me extremely glad that I did those hills today). I also asked him what he thought about my bike and doing IM Switzerland. He said that my current bike could have aero bars put on and it would be okay to get started, but once I really start to increase my mileage, my bike just isn't designed for all that wear and tear. He said that I should also really consider doing a half Ironman before jumping into the full thing. While I'm glad to have his thoughts, especially on the bike, I feel that this is mostly a personal decision that I need to come to on my own first about putting in the time for the training. Drew suggested today that I should look at some sample Ironman plans and see what the workouts look like. Pretty smart idea, I think.

After the Expo, we dropped our loot off at my apartment and headed down to Union Square for a brunch made from goodies we got at the Farmers Market. After that we headed over to Paragon in order to check out all the bike/tri gear for Drew's upcoming duathlon! We got lucky because all of the bike and tri clothing was 20% off! He got a new pair of Pearl Izumi bike shorts, I got myself a pair of Pearl Izumi tri shorts, and best of all, I got a blinking red light for my bicycle! It's actually really cool because it can clip onto the bike or I can slide it onto a clip that I could attach to my shorts in case I needed it while running or not on the bike. I feel a lot better about riding in the early morning hours with this little light! A very triathlon filled day. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and going to cheer on my Terrier teammates in the NYC tri. I'm also hoping to see some of the pros and elites compete and dream about being on their level.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Third Time Is Not The Charm

This morning Drew and I woke up early in order to head out for a run in Central Park. We were planning on doing the 4-mile loop from the 102nd Street Transverse to the 72nd Street Transverse. I poked around in Drew's cupboards and found no granola bars, so I just had a half of a glass of water before setting out. I wasn't sure how that would go for me since I was already feeling a little bit hungry before we started.

Drew had said that the last two times that we had gone running together he hadn't done so well, but that this time would be different and he would be better. To set the record straight, the last time we went running, I felt really bad for him as he was sick and I felt like I was dragging him out to go running when he should probably be sleeping.

We walked over to the park and started our watches and headed north. I'm not sure that we needed both of our watches, but it is just fun to be the one pressing the button. We weren't even a minute into the running before I noticed that there was something seriously wrong with my sock. I stopped my watch and bent down to fix it. I think that's fair to stop the watch when you aren't even moving. Somehow I must not have pulled it on all the way, since when I got my foot out of my shoe, my sock wasn't even close to being near my heel. I pulled it up all the way and then we were back on our way.

Right after we got across the 102nd Street Transverse, I felt like I wanted to give up. My head started to get that feeling of a running headache coming on and I was 100% sure that it was all due to the fact that I hadn't had anything to eat before working out. I told Drew that I needed to walk for a minute. I felt like I was wimping out, but I also knew that I would feel a lot worse later on if I didn't take a little bit of a break. We walked for about a minute (and I kept my watch counting while we were walking). Then we started back up.

Shortly after that, Drew mentioned that his right calf was feeling like it had a cramp. We stopped for a few seconds so that he could lean against a light post and try to stretch it out. After that, we kept going on our way. It quickly became clear that Drew was not very comfortable running because his leg was really bothering him. We stopped again for him to try to stretch, but still without any real success. I realized that we should stop running and just head home. It clearly wasn't our day to be out there and doing all this exercise with nothing in our bellies.

Our total time running was 20:09 and we went exactly 2.0 miles (10:04 pace). Not too bad considering one of us was crippled and the other one wanted to walk for a while. I know that this was not my best effort today, but I have to think that at least I got out there and did something and I'll just work a little bit harder tomorrow. I really think that Drew is never going to want to come running with me again since now on his third recent attempt, things went awry again. I just hope that he has a speedy recovery since next week at this time he'll be hunting in Africa and it seems like it'd be really quite bad to have a sore calf for that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Best Teammate

Yesterday afternoon I got an e-mail from Terrier saying that we should all make sure to wear our Terrier gear for this morning's brick workout because Fox 5 News would be there in the morning talking to our team. I will say that the last time I was interviewed for the news, I made a complete fool of myself, but it was definitely good for a laugh or two. I wasn't 100% sure that anyone wanted me to say anything on TV ever again, especially when representing our triathlon club.

Last night, after work, I headed home and took a little bit of a nap. I then woke up, made dinner and then Drew came over and we watched some TV. I probably stayed up a bit later than I should have, even with the nap, because I have to get up so early on Thursdays for the workout. This morning I woke up to Drew asking me "What is that beeping noise?". I guess my reply of "It's that thing" wasn't very descriptive because he just kept asking me what was going on. It was all I could do in my haze of sleepiness to form a complete sentence. Asking for it to be a good one was really a lot. Anyway, the problem was that the carbon monoxide detector was losing it's battery power and wanted to be plugged in. In the midst of all of this, I glanced at the clock to realize that it was already 5:20 and practice starts at 5:30! To set the record straight, I had actually set the alarm on my phone, which did go off at the right time. However, I had left my phone downstairs and I guess I couldn't hear it go off over the air conditioner. Lesson learned.

I started to get myself ready and realized that there was no way that I could possibly get myself there in under 10 minutes. I had to eat something, pump up my tires, fill up my water bottle, get dressed, pack up my bag with my running stuff, the list seemed endless in that moment. Drew then asked what I needed help with because we're a team and he'd just be a really good teammate. I told him that he could pump the tires and fill up the water bottle, both of which he did, which was a huge time saver. I ate half of a Clif bar, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, tried to wake up a bit more, and headed out. Of course, by that time, I was already late. I didn't even get into the park until 5:50. But, it would have been even later if Drew hadn't helped me out.

I realized at some point that I would miss out on the TV portion of the day. I just decided that I would skip the brick and just go for a nice bike ride instead. I knew that by the time I got to the meeting spot and set everything up, I'd really be pressed for time to get in a good workout and I thought that I could do a longer harder workout on my own if I just skipped the running and only did the biking.

It was actually a really nice morning in the park. There were lots of Terriers out so I got to encourage some of my teammates and got some encouragement back. On the beginning of the third loop, a (non-Terrier) guy rode up next to me and asked if I was racing this weekend in the New York City Triathlon. I told him I'm not, but I am planning to go cheer on my teammates. We chatted for a while about triathlons and bikes. I normally might have been a little weirded out by the whole thing, but I've definitely seen that guy in the park before riding, so it just seemed less intimidating. He told me that he used to do triathlons but now does Adventure Racing. I think it sounds pretty cool, but also a little crazy, so it probably goes well with triathlons!

All in all, I did three loops of the park today: 18.19 miles in 1:12:30 (15.05 MPH pace). I'm extremely happy with that time. I checked after two loops and my pace was 15.2, so I slowed down a little bit for the third loop, but not a huge drop off, so I'm also very pleased with the fact that I was giving a pretty consistent effort, even though I definitely felt a bit more tired on the third loop. I will say that my legs in general felt pretty good today. I wonder if climbing all those stairs on Tuesday helped with the biking today?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Russian Bathhouse

This morning I met Laura at the Westside YMCA for a swim. I checked in using my guest pass with no problems. While I was waiting for Laura, I noticed that this wasn't just a gym, it was also the kind of Y where you can stay the night. It seems like you really don't see those kind of old school Y's anymore.

We walked into the locker room, which was possibly the largest one that I've seen in quite some time. It just kept going on and on and on forever. We picked out two lockers, with an empty one in between us. It seemed like the perfect location - near the stairs to the pool, the showers and that aisle of lockers had two stools - one for each of us.

We headed to the pool and walking in, I immediately thought that we were walking into some sort of Russian bathhouse. Not that I've ever been to one, it just was similar to what it would be like in my imagination. There was really detailed tile work, which I think was the main thing that made it feel like a bathhouse to me. There was also a balcony/catwalk around the entire pool, which made it feel very old fashioned, but also pretty cool.

We hung up our towels, took off our flip flops and got into the water. Freezing cold. In those situations there is only one option - to start swimming. That's the only way I know how to warm up. And I really did warm up very quickly. After swimming a 300, I realized that I hadn't started my watch, so I was at a bit of a loss for exactly how long I had been in the water already. I figured it didn't really matter in the scheme of things if I didn't know the precise amount of time that I had been swimming.

Because I hadn't known what kind of pool this would be and what to expect exactly, I didn't print out a workout. I figured I would just go and do a long swim. Although I really love the Terrier swim practices with all the drills, I did just want to get in a long continuous swim. I decided that I would time myself swimming a 500 to see how it compared to Sunday's crazy-fast 500 time of 7:37. Swimming at my normal leisurly pace, I swam a 500 in 9:21 (1:52/100 pace). That was pretty much what I thought my 100 pace was, so I'm not too surprised by that. It is just crazy to think that I went almost two whole minutes faster on Sunday though!

While I was swimming, there was a guy and a girl in my lane chatting about Ironman triathlons. The guy is doing Lake Placid this weekend and he was explaining everything to the girl and was encouraging her to try out triathlons as well. I sort-of feel like I can't escape Ironman talk. I still haven't come to a decision about Ironman Switzerland next year. Yesterday I watched these incredible videos on YouTube about the Kona Ironman in 2006. (As a side note, if you have time, you should watch all 9 of them too as they're ridiculously inspiring!). I am still trying to figure out if I have the dedication and determination needed to finish the Ironman myself. I'll keep you posted on what happens with my decision making.

At some point this morning, the guy next to me got out of his lane and said if I wanted to move over and have a lane to myself I was welcome to. So, I thought that sounded like a nice idea and I did. Of course, I had been swimming in the far left lane and swimming against the wall half of the time and the lane line the rest of the time. In this other lane I had to swim against the lane line on both sides. Apparently I'm not very good at that because when I got out of the pool, I had another bruise developing on my right elbow from hitting the lane line. What is my problem? At this point it's getting to be a little embarassing that I can't swim properly.

Speaking of swimming properly, I really concentrated today on keeping my knees straight and kicking from the hips more than I have been. It still feels really weird (and slow) to me, but I do believe that it probably makes me more streamlined and therefore faster in the water in the long run. In total today, I swam 2300 yards (1.3 Miles). I had guessed that I was in the water for about 50 minutes, but Laura told me later that it was actually 53, so I wasn't too far off. I still think it's fair to say that I probably wasn't swimming all 53 minutes, although I didn't rest too much, so my 50 minute guess was probably just about right on.

Getting out of the pool and heading back into the locker room, we get to our lockers and there is an entire cosmetics counter laid out on one of the stools and that stool is in conjunction with the locker right in between the lockers that Laura and I selected. I mean, really? There were 6 lockers on either side of us that were empty and had no locks on them. Not to mention the rows upon rows of other lockers. Why would you need to use the one right in between us? I made up for it by using some of the lotion that was so nicely placed on the stool for me. For the record, normally I'm not really like that, I just couldn't find my lotion and it seemed like a fair payback.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where Is The Wind?

Yesterday I had my regular pilates session with Nicole at 7:00. Her friend Cara came as well, since Laura had to miss the session. We did a couple of new moves on the tower, including one I really liked. I have no idea what the name of it is, but you sit facing the tower portion with your feet on the silver bars. You grab the wooden bar lift up and then pull down and push through toward the wall (I'm doing a horrible job describing this, I know). The short story is that you get this really great stretch at the end.

This morning I woke up to rain. No big surprise there, I know. And, of course, there is rain in the forecast every day for the next 10 days. I find this to be rather typical since I just cleaned up my terrace and my patio furniture and was hoping to spend more time out there ... and now there is nothing but rain in the forecast. Ugh.

I still consider myself to be a bit of a fair-weather triathlete, so I didn't want to brave the rain for the Terrier run this morning, so I slept in. Walking home from work today, it wasn't raining right when I left, so I was super optimistic that I might be able to get in a real run outside. Of course, about 5 minutes into my walk, it started raining again, so that idea was out the window. So, I came home, changed clothes and headed to the gym.

I haven't been to the gym in quite some time and my last time there wasn't my favorite. I really wasn't looking forward to running on the treadmill, but I knew it didn't matter and that I could hopefully get 5 miles in. However, when I got there, the gym was filled with meat-heads and every single (working) treadmill was taken. As was every single elliptical machine. So, that meant that I would be using the one available stair master.

I chose to do speed intervals. I thought I would start on level 10 (out of 20) and see how that went. After doing one slow and one fast, I figured I could bump it up to level 12. I had programmed that I would do 45 minutes and since I had no idea of what sort of distance I would get with that, I was hoping that it'd be somewhere in the same range as running for 45 minutes would be.

I forgot how sweaty the stair master is. It didn't take me long until I was just dripping with sweat, which I'm sure was not a pretty sight to see. It also didn't take very long for me to miss being outside. Even when it's hot out and I'm running, just the running itself creates a bit of a breeze to help cool down. That breeze does not exist on a stair master at the gym. Turns out I really missed that today.

I had taken my iPod with me to the gym as a bit of a treat, since with all my outdoor workouts I don't listen to music much anymore. It turned out to be a good thing since it really helped with my motivation. Around the 30 minute mark, I was definitely ready to get off the stair master. I tried talking myself off of the machine by saying that if I wrote my blog and said that I did it for 30 minutes, no one would know that I had planned for 45 if I didn't write it down. Then I realized that was a pretty bad attitude and I should keep going and be honest with my readers and myself.

The screen of the machine kept flashing all these statistics at me. The usual suspects: calories, distance, heartrate, flights climbed ... but then it also flashed statistics for METs and Watts. I had no real idea what a MET was and after reading that link, I'm still not really sure, but what I do know is that the lower level workouts were 7.6 METs and the higher level was 11.2 METs. Whatever that means.

In total, I went for 45 minutes and climbed a total of 233 floors and went an equivalent of 4.64 miles (which, if I had been running would have been a 9:41 mile pace). The stair master wasn't what I had planned, but I felt really good after finishing the workout that I had programmed for myself. I finished up with some stretching, which I haven't been doing enough of recently and it felt really nice to just give my muscles some love.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Whoopin' & Hollerin'

This afternoon I went to the Terrier swim. Last week at practice, coach Megan had told us that because the 4:30 practice was so crowded, we were welcome to come to the 3:30 race-specific practice instead. I'm not sure if this is the last week of the 3:30 practice since the New York triathlon is next weekend, but I figured I would take advantage of the smaller practice group.

When I got there, the new swim coach, Jamie Barone, was teaching a flip-turn clinic. I know how to do flip-turns, but I just cannot do them on a regular basis because they really hurt my ears. I know that sounds weird, but I have had a lot ear problems ever since I was a kid and something about going too deep in the water (even a couple of feet) really gives me a hard time. I know that if I did them on a regular basis, it would make my pool swimming faster, but I figure that in triathlons you don't really do flip-turns, so I'm probably okay on that.

Jamie told us that he's a fan of doing short, fast sets in practices. He feels like longer, slower sets teach you how to swim slowly and doing faster sets helps you learn how to swim more quickly. We also all lucked out because it ended up that there were only 4 of us who were at the 3:30 practice, so we all had pretty individual attention. This was the workout:

300 Warm-Up
350 Kick
10 x 100 Hard/Easy split
10 x 50 Hard/Easy split
50 Warm-Down

Total distance: 2200 meters (1.36 miles) in approximately 1:05:00

The kick was done in sets. It was 25 hard followed by 25 easy. Then 50 hard followed by 25 easy. And then 75 hard followed by 25 easy. Finally 100 hard with 25 easy. Jamie was walking up and down the side of the pool with us while we were kicking. I was in the far left lane, closest to the wall, so he was mostly walking up and down next to me while we were swimming. He asked me if I had done a lot of swimming as a kid. When I said yes, he said it showed a lot in my kick. He said that I kick a lot from the knee instead of from the hip, which will make my stroke a lot faster and so I worked on that for the rest of the kicking drills. He said he could instantly tell I was kicking faster his way and I did feel a little bit smoother in the water, but it still doesn't feel 100% natural.

After that we did 10 x 100. It was broken up into five 200s that the first one was done fast and the second was done easy. Jamie had a stop watch, so he timed all of us doing our fast 100s. My first 100 was in 1:28, if I'm remembering correctly. I did increase my time from there, I think my third one was 1:33. Then Jamie gave me a different swim cap to wear. I wear a lycra one because I think all of the other kinds hurt my hair, so he told me to put on a silicone one over my lycra one. He said that my original cap carries a lot of water and is giving me too much drag. The funny thing was that after he told me that I was wearing the fast cap, I went down to 1:29 on my fourth hard 100. So, I guess he did know what he was talking about. It probably is worth wearing a second cap, although I would still want to wear the lycra one underneath because those other ones just pull on my hair too much. Or I should just toughen up. But I think I'll choose the second swim cap.

While were doing the fast 100s, Jamie would walk up and down the side of the pool and whistle and yell at us to encourage us. It actually was really pretty awesome and nice. It was definitely the encouragement that I needed to keep going, mostly on the last 25! He told us at one point that if we heard him "whoopin' and hollerin'" that we should just keep swimming - and swimming fast! The recovery 100s were done amazingly slow. I have no idea what the timing was on those, but it was really nice to just take it slow and easy. I did the fast 500 in 7:37 total (about 1:31/100), which was pretty good for me, considering that my normal 100 pace is about 1:50. I'm sure I couldn't have maintained that 7:37 pace if the 500 had been continuous, but still an excellent time. After our last fast 100, Jamie had us take our heart rates. Mine was 180. According to the formula, my max heart rate could be 192. He also had us take our heart rate after the recovery 100 and mine dropped down to 126. He said that ideally it would be about 60 beats slower from one to the other.

We then did the exact same thing with the 10 x 50. We did 5 fast and 5 as recovery. Jamie told us that we wanted our five fast 50s to be less than half of the time that it took us to do the five fast 100s. I came in at 3:30 total, which was definitely less than half of the time, so I felt good about that. The average for each 50 was 0:42. Jamie still walked up and down the pool while we were doing the 50s. He kept reminding me that I should kick from the hips instead of the knees (and yes, he did that while I was swimming by using arm motions). I tried to do it as best I could, but I think it's extremely hard to change your stroke while also trying to swim as fast as we could. We took our heart rates again on the last fast 50 (168 beats/minute) and after the last slow 50 (108 beats/minute). I guess that extra hard 50 really made my heart increase.

So, I'm not sure how often Jamie will be running regular practices. There are additional practices that I know he'll be doing on Thursday nights, but those are for an additional fee, so I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to do that, especially since swimming is not my weakest sport. I do hope that he runs some of the regular Sunday practices as well. I like that there are so many coaches because it really helps shake up the variety of the workouts. Next Sunday there is no swim practice because so many people are doing the New York City triathlon. I'm going to go and cheer on my fellow teammates - I think that counts as a workout, right?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Yesterday was an unplanned rest day. Drew and I had a date planned for Thursday night. He ended up working late, so we got a late start going out. We ended up staying out way too late. As a result, I couldn't drag myself out of bed in time to get a workout in and then after work I was beat.

This morning I had set my alarm for 6 so that I could get a good bike ride in before my mom came to visit for the next few days. Of course, I did not get up at 6:00. Drew was too cuddly for me to get out of bed. Finally, around 7 he said that he would stop snuggling and I had to get up. It had rained pretty hard overnight, so the roads were still all wet, especially in the park where there isn't any traffic.

I had considered a couple of options for workouts today. I had thought that maybe I would do the short loops in the park, but before I left I realized that I need to get ready for Claire's climb and there is only one way to do that. Hill repeats. This was my first time with these things. I'm not really sure how many you have to do for it to qualify as a hill repeat session. At first I thought that maybe four was a good number, but that seemed like it wasn't a whole lot, so I decided that five sounded like better number.

The first one wasn't too bad. Even the second, third, and fourth ones didn't make me want to poke my eyes out. On the fifth one I was questioning why I had decided that five was a good number. My quads were definitely ready to head home by the time I got to the top of the hill the fifth time. And they weren't too happy about the extra couple of hills I had to climb on the way home.

I ended up riding for a total of 1:01:01 and went 13.17 miles (12.95 MPH average). I'm super impressed with that MPH average (although it doesn't look like much) considering the fact that it includes time to and from the park as well as a hill workout! Not too shabby, I think.

Coming home, both my bike and I needed a shower - although my bike had to settle for a wipe down. I wish that there was a way to snap my fingers and get my bike clean, but I haven't figured that one out yet.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Think I'm Growing Leg Muscles

The thing about sleeping in (like yesterday morning) is that your body gets tricked into thinking that it can stay up later at night. I tried to get to bed at a decent time last night, but I still think it was after 11:30 by the time I fell asleep. Of course, waking up this morning at 4:55 wasn't any picnic. But, I got up, ate my Clif bar and headed out for the Terrier brick.

When we got there, Robert explained the workout. The run portion would be the last part of the NYC triathlon route so that those people who were doing the race would know the route and be familiar with it. The bike was from the 72nd Street transverse to the 102nd Street transverse. We were supposed to bike all out from transverse to transverse and then recover across them. The workout was supposed to be about 90 minutes in total and however many runs and bikes you could fit into that amount of time was where you would end up.

We all did the run portion as a group first so that we would know the route to take. Robert said that it was about a half mile, but since it took me about 8 minutes to do the first loop, I knew that his math had to be a little bit off. Turns out each loop was 0.85 miles. By the time we got done with that first running loop, I was already pooped and ready to go home. My legs were tired, I was tired, but I knew I just had to get on my bike and do the best I could.

These are my stats for the day:

Park riding: 8.18 miles in 33:55 minutes (14.47 MPH average)
Bike to park and home: 3.50 miles in 24:00 minutes (8.75 MPH average)
Total biking: 11.68 miles in 57:55 minutes

One running loop was 0.85 miles. Did two loops total (1.70 miles) in 15:28 (9:05 pace)

My legs were not very happy about that second biking loop, but I knew I had to suck it up and keep going. I like to think that when they get so tired like that it's because they're working really hard to grow bigger muscles and even though they're tired now it'll be better in the long run (no pun intended).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Out For A Joy Ride With Marilyn

This morning I woke up on my own at 5:17. When I realized that I didn't have to be awake then, I rolled over and slept happily until almost 8:00. It was quite a treat to have a morning to sleep in and not be up early! Even though that meant that I would have to workout after work, it was totally worth it.

Today at work I noticed that my quads were a little tired and sore. Nothing major, just something I noticed. It seemed a little strange to me that running would have made my quads tired, but I'm guessing that's mostly because in the past I've mostly had shin and heel pain, so it have it somewhere new was a surprise.

While at work today, I got an e-mail from Terrier saying that if we were interested in Ironman Switzerland, we should sign up soon because they are going to race it as a team and training will start after the first of the year. As crazy as it is to say, I actually didn't just delete the e-mail. I'm actually going to give this some thought before just automatically deciding that it is a crazy idea (which, let's face it, you have to be crazy to do one). The race is in August of 2010, so I'd have a year to get ready for it. I have no idea if it's a horrible idea or not, but I'm going to keep thinking about it and weighing my options. I know it would take a lot of time and dedication to get to the finish line, but I also think it would be an amazing and rewarding experience.

After finishing work today, I walked home (and happened to catch Paul McCartney playing live outside at The Late Show, which was pretty awesome!) and got ready for my bike ride. I had been thinking that I didn't want to do anything too hard because obviously my quads were tired already and I have the Terrier brick in the morning. I thought that I would go for a ride up the Westside path since I will be riding in the park in the morning.

When I was getting ready, I decided that I would try out some of the new socks that Drew's mom and dad sent to me. They are actually really nice socks, I think. They're Ironman brand (coincidence?), but the funny thing about them is that at the top of the socks, they have Marilyn Monroe's head. I'm not really sure what the appeal to triathletes would be to have Marilyn on your socks, but I thought they were pretty comfy, so I'm always glad to have more socks (makes the time between loads of laundry longer!).

Setting out, it quickly became apparent that this would not be a serious biking day and would be more of a relaxed ride. The path was packed. I was thinking that when I got further north there would be less traffic. Wrong. There were tons of families out having B-B-Q's (which smelled delicious) and lots of kids running around. I only had to slam on my brakes 5 separate times to narrowly avoid collisions with kids! But, luckily, everything was fine.

I had a really nice ride up to the base of the George Washington Bridge. I didn't think that my legs would be very happy with me going up the three hills, so I decided to just turn around and head back home when I got to that point. If anything, it was busier on the path on the way home, so I didn't sweat it when I got home to see these results on the bike computer:

Total Time: 1:08:56
Total Distance: 14.24
Average: 12.39 MPH

"Real" riding (time not spent traveling to/from the path): 58:56
Distance: 13.04
Average: 13.28 MPH

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ramblin' In The Ramble

Last night I spent the night at Drew's apartment, which meant that this morning when the alarm went off, I had someone to help push me out of bed and out for my Terrier run. I was actually looking forward to the run this morning, since we were going to be doing the NYC Triathlon course (or at least the park portion of the course). I left Drew's apartment at 5:40, which should have been plenty of time to walk the 1.4 miles from his apartment to the meeting spot and get there at 6:00. I had been planning on just walking down 5th Avenue and turning into the park at 72nd Street, because I wasn't sure that I trusted myself to be able to find my way on the park paths. Turns out I should have listened to my instinct.

Instead, I saw a couple of people turning into the park at 85th Street and I thought to myself that I was pretty sure I could find my way, as long as I kept the road in sight. I was doing pretty well until about 79th Street. Then I entered the Ramble and completely lost my way. The funny thing was that as I was walking through, I heard two runners coming up behind me and thought that they might be fellow Terriers. And they were. I was thinking that I could hopefully just see where they went, but since they were running and I was walking, I quickly lost sight of them. When I emerged from the Ramble, I was standing at the edge of the boating pond, and I could see the fountain, which was where I should have been, but I would have had to swim to get there from where I was. Which meant that I had to turn around and find the road again and just jog on the road to the meeting spot. And I think I added on an extra 1/2 mile in my ramblings.

I ended up being 5 minutes late (so not too bad). I got there in time to do 4 quick stride drills and then it was time to start the workout. Robert had us run around the finish of the NYC tri, so that those who were doing the race would know where the finish was. Then we ran over to the corner of the Park Drive and the 72nd Street transverse (0.55 miles / ~5:00 minutes). From there, our task was to run north around the Park Drive and back to the finish line. We were supposed to run for 3 minutes and then rest/recover for 2. The recovery was technically supposed to be done running in place for 2 minutes, but the slow group that I was a part of walked through the recovery portions.

Running the park backwards - meaning the opposite direction that we normally bike or run - is really interesting. Especially the Harlem hill. It's not nearly as bad going from West to East as it is the other way. Although when I got to the end of the hill on the East side, I was wiped out and took my walking break about 30 seconds early. I didn't feel too bad about it because there were several times where I ran for more than 3 minutes in a stretch, so I think it all evened out.

The total running distance was 5.1 miles, which I finished in 53:38 (10:30 pace). I'm super happy with that time given all of the walking breaks that I took! I then walked the 1.4 miles back to Drew's apartment on the actual roads (I had enough of the park for one morning!).

Total running today: 5.6 miles / 58:38
Total walking today: 3.3 miles / 45:00

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's No Fun With A Dancer

This morning I met Nicole for a pilates lesson. Unfortunately, Laura is ill after our excursion to Coney Island so she couldn't be there this morning. I'm actually a little nervous about the fact that she got sick and I'm hoping that I'm A-OK and didn't swallow some yucky stuff myself. Because Laura wasn't able to join us, Nicole's friend Cara came instead.

We started out the lesson on the reformer doing some of the beginner basics. When we got to the Tree exercise, I looked over and just had to laugh. Tree requires you to lift up one leg, while the other leg is hooked into a strap. You then tuck your pelvis and lean backwards a bit. And then you crawl your arms down and up the tree (made by the leg that is lifted in the air) by using your ab muscles to pull you back up. Cara, like Nicole, is a dancer, which means that she's got crazy flexibility. When I do tree, my leg is out at least at a 45 degree angle. Cara's leg, on the other hand, was straight up and down in the air. When Cara crawled down the tree, she was so far down, she was in the well behind the reformer carriage. I just looked over and said, "It's no fun to do this with a dancer." There were definitely a few other times where her flexibility was extremely noticeable and made me sad for my own pathetic flexibility.

I will say that I was a little bit happy when Cara yelled out, "I hate you" to Nicole, which made me feel like it wasn't all fun and games for her either. I've actually missed doing pilates the last couple weeks. I'm glad that it'll finally work out that I'll be able to do it for two weeks in a row.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pool, Glorious Pool

Today I spent the morning sleeping in. Then I took an afternoon nap. I will say that I was a little bit bummed to be wasting such a nice day staying inside so much, but the sleep was so nice (and needed) that I'm really okay with that. Today was also the Terrier group swim, which meant more time spent indoors. Oh well. Hopefully summer is finally here and that will mean lots more nice weekends to spend outside.

Getting into the pool was so nice compared to getting into the ocean yesterday. While the pool is always a little bit cool, it's nothing like the ocean temperature and it's so nice to be able to see the bottom of the pool and know you're swimming in a straight line. I also never worried about drinking too much water and was actually glad to taste the chlorinated water instead of salt water. Megan was the coach today and she said that we would be doing a lot of speed work.

This was the workout:
300 Warm-Up
10 x 50 - on the 1:00
6 x 75 Pull
12 x 100 - on the 2:10
25 Sprint
75 Cool Down

Total distance = 2550 meters

The 300 warm-up was mostly a warm-up, but every 3rd length was supposed to be an easy to fast build. We should have all known right then that this wasn't going to be an easy workout and that it would pretty much kick our butts. The 10 x 50 were all easy down and fast back and we had a minute to complete each one. I'd say that I finished all of them in less than 0:50 and some were in 0:45, mostly depending on how fast the last 25 was.

The pulling was supposed to be easy-fast-easy. It's just still so interesting to me that people who are not great swimmers can be amazing pullers. I know it's because they obviously don't kick much when they're swimming regularly, but the difference between one and the other is really amazing to watch.

The 12 x 100 were broken down into three groups of 400. The first 100 would be easy, the second 100 would be slightly faster, the third 100 should be at race pace and the fourth 100 should be an all out sprint. Repeated three times and all of the 100s would be on the 2:10, so depending on how fast you swam, you'd have more recovery time. The first set of 400 was definitely the hardest one. Mainly the last 100 sprint. Megan said that she wanted to see us kicking really hard and I don't know why it is, but kicking really hard just takes a lot out of me. By the time we got to the second set of 400, I thought I was about to pee my pants (or bathing suit, as the case may be). I had to get out and go use the restroom, but I only missed a 50 of easy, so I don't think it was a huge deal in terms of the workout.

When we were starting the last sprint 100, I was just thinking how excited I was that once that was done we would get to do a cool-down and be done. Megan had different ideas, though. We had to do one more 25 sprint. She shuffled all of us around so that one person from each lane would have a race against each other. So, all of the really fast people from the far lane would race against each other, etc. When I was standing there, I was thinking that I wasn't sure I had it in me, but I was also thinking that it was only a 25 and I could do it. It actually was much more fun than I had expected - although I'm sure part of that was the competition aspect of it. I'm fairly sure I came in second, but it was pretty close with the girl in the lane next to me.

Finally we got to do the cool-down! I was definitely ready for that. My total distance today was 2500 meters (1.55 miles). I didn't use my stop watch, but I think the total time in the pool was about 1:03, just based on looking at my watch when we got in and out. Obviously not all that time was spent actually swimming as some of it was resting, but it still was a great workout and a good way to start the week.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We Are Like '80s Triathletes

This morning I met Laura and Jen so that the three of us could head to Coney Island for an open water swim. Because we wouldn't have anyone to watch our stuff, I really took the bare bones and toted all my stuff around in a brown paper bag from Whole Foods (just in case anything was stolen, I wouldn't lose a lot).

The three of us met at Laura's before heading out there. She had suggested that we should all wear brightly-colored swim caps so we would be easy to spot in the water. Since I own a black swim cap and I threw away the white one I used at Staten Island, I needed to borrow one from Laura. She had a neon pink one for me to wear, which definitely fulfilled the brightly-colored requirement.

We got on the train and headed out to the end of Brooklyn. Once we got there, we headed toward the water and set all of our stuff down on the beach and started to get suited up. I had applied Body Glide before leaving my apartment and I'm sure that some of it came off along the way, but I really didn't have any problems getting my wetsuit on. Jen had brought a neon yellow swim cap and Laura had a neon green one. The three of us together reminded me of some sort of bad '80s exercise video with the neon swim caps.

Once we were all suited and capped up, we headed into the water. It was definitely not as cold as I had remembered it being, but the waves were really significant. The last time I was there it was pretty much like swimming in a (very cold) lake. Today, not so much.

We headed out further into the water,about half-way down the jetty. We all just stayed there treading water for a few minutes saying, "OK" but didn't do anything. Finally I said I would countdown from 5 to get us going. And on 1, we all went. It never ceases to surprise me when that actually works. It always still feels a bit to me like we're kids and it's all a trick.

The distance between the jettys is .10 miles. Laura was in disbelief about the distance when we were at one end looking at how far we had to swim, but after swimming there and seeing the time on her watch, she believed me. I don't think that gmap pedometer has lied to me yet, and I guess this proved the point.

We all swam there and back (0.2 miles). Swimming there wasn't too bad because the waves were coming from the left, so it was easy to breathe on the right. Swimming back was another story. Although it was really good practice for breathing on the left. Otherwise the result was a mouthful of water. After the first 0.2 miles, Laura said that she had a sidestitch and was going to rest while Jen and I kept swimming.

Jen and I did another 0.2 miles. On the way there, I started having some goggle issues. Mostly that the right goggle was leaking just a tiny bit. I know that some people actually keep a little bit of water in their goggles to prevent fogging, but I am not one of those people. I think that part of the goggle problem was due to the fact that the waves kept hitting my face and jostling them out of position. I stopped, tried to suction them back into my eye socket as best as I could and kept swimming.

After Jen and I finished that leg, Laura came back and joined us for another 0.2 miles. Half-way through that leg, I realized that I wasn't feeling 100% because of all the salt water that I had swallowed and all I wanted to do was get out and have drink of fresh water. When we finished that part up, I told the girls that I needed to get a drink and that they should keep swimming. I think we had all reached our limits, however. We all ended up getting out of the water and getting something to drink. Once we were out of the water, we realized that we had had enough for one day.

I ended up swimming 0.6 miles in 26:04. Slower than my normal (pool) mile pace, but still fairly good, I thought, considering it was open water with waves! We celebrated our triumph over the waves with Nathan's hot dogs. After all, what's a trip to Coney Island without a hot dog?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Friendly Park

This morning Drew and I got up early to head over to Central Park for a run. He is still fighting off this cold, so I did feel a little bit bad dragging him along with me. We walked to the park as a warm-up and as we were walking there Drew said, "The park looks so friendly since it's so green." I started thinking about how great it is to be in such an urban area and still have a great park. Thank you Frederick Law Olmstead!

We started out on our run heading north. I was a little bit pressed for time so I wasn't sure how far I could go before having to head back. I knew that Drew's cold would probably keep him from doing the whole run with me, but it was nice to have company part of the time. He ran with me until about 86th Street, where you can cut through on the path to head back downtown. We ran that 1.6 miles in 15:58 (9:58 pace). He then let me go on with the rest of my run and he started walking home.

I ended up going 3.3 miles in 33:09 (10:02 pace). I felt really good while running and I definitely felt like I could have kept running, except that I really had to rush home and get ready for the day because I had to be at an early meeting.

I am feeling a lot better about Westchester now. I went through a bit of a funk after Staten Island but I definitely feel like I'm back in the groove now. I can't really say that I'm looking forward to actually doing this next triathlon, but I am looking forward to saying that I'm an Olympic-distance triathlete, so I think that will help me mentally prepare.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An Aerobic What?

This morning I woke up and I couldn't believe it! No rain!! That meant that I could actually get up and go to the Terrier brick. Even more surprising, when I was getting ready and listening to the radio, the weatherman said that there wasn't any rain in the forecast for the entire day. That just seems like crazy talk, but I'm really glad.

I headed over to the park. When I was riding at 5:15, I was thinking about how the back reflector on my bike seems to have fallen off somewhere along the way and that it really wasn't that light out yet and I was wearing mostly black. Of course, there isn't a lot of traffic, so I wasn't that concerned, but it seems like it might be worth it to get one of those blinking lights that clips on me for riding in those situations.

I was one of the first people who got to the meeting spot. I took out my running shoes and hat to get set-up for the transition. While I was doing that, two girls came up to a couple of the guys who were also there and asked them for directions to Shakespeare in the Park. The girls were clearly intoxicated. I mentioned to someone else that they were pretty much the opposite of everyone else there - we were all about to workout and they were drunk at 5:30 in the morning. Now, I'm not sure precisely what happened, but the girls either got bad directions or didn't really hear the directions they were given (I couldn't hear what they were told), but they took off walking in the wrong direction.

By this time, it was 5:30 and time to get our workout for the day. Robert said that we were supposed to basically do an hour on the bike - 10 minute warm-up, 10 minute build (in the big chain ring), 5 minute spin, 10 minute build, 5 minute spin, 10 minutes at race pace, 5 minute easy spin. This would be followed by a 20 minute run. He explained that the builds were supposed to be in our big ring at a lower cadence than normal. Then this was the part where I lost him. He started talking about anaerobic exercise and working our muscles this way and that way and while I understand that all of that stuff (aerobic/anaerobic/lactic acid) is supposed to be important to triathletes, I just don't really understand. I think at this point, I need to be worried about the basics and spending more time working out than I do about all this science stuff.

I figured I would do one loop of the park and then see how I was feeling and what the timing was. I did the first loop as I would normally do it (in the medium chain ring), with one exception. Instead of switching to my "granny gear" to go up the Harlem hill, I left it in the medium ring and made it up the hill just fine. I'm not sure I went any faster or slower than I had before, but I felt pretty proud that I could do it without making it any easier. The second loop, I decided that I would ride in my big ring until the hill again. It actually wasn't as bad as I had imagined it would be. I think my cadence was averaging around 75 instead of 90+, so I didn't think that was horrible either. On the hill, I again put it back to the middle ring for the climb up. I did put it back to the big ring for a couple of minutes, but around 90th Street, I switched back to the middle ring for the rest of the ride. I think I did the bike (~12 miles) in about 50 minutes (14.5 MPH average). [Total bike mileage with rides to/from park: 15.81 in 1:09:24 (13.7 MPH average)]

When I got back to the benches, there were a couple of guys standing around, but I didn't really think anything of it. I knew they were Terriers. When I was putting on my running shoes and throwing on my hat, I heard one of them say, "Do you want to try to get cleaned up?". I started running away and noticed that one of the guys had blood on his shirt. I figured he had fallen off his bike, but he appeared to be okay, so I just kept going.

I wasn't entirely sure where I should run (north or south) to get a 20 minute run in. I figured I would start running south and see what happened from there. If it looked like it was going to be too long, I could always cut back up the Mall back to the bandshell. It turns out that the loop that I did was 1.72 miles and I ran for 16:18 (9:30 pace). When I was running, I felt like my calves were getting a little bit cramped up, but nothing that I couldn't run through and it actually felt better the longer that I ran. However, I figured 16 minutes was close enough to 20. Plus, when I got back to the 72nd Street transverse, I noticed that there was a cop car there and I thought maybe they were there to talk about what I had assumed was a bike accident.

Boy, was I wrong about that. Turns out that while everyone was out bike riding, the drunk girls had come back. We do have a "watch dog" that keeps an eye on our stuff for us. The girls had sat down on one of the benches and started messing with some of the stuff. From what I understand, the watch dog asked them to stop and to please leave and it escalated from there. The girls started hitting the watch dog with shoes that they had picked up and then tried to run off with some of our stuff. The blood that I had seen on his shirt earlier was really a result of a pretty serious cut that he had gotten on his arm. I think the crazier part of all of this was that this poor guy was a fill-in for the person who was actually supposed to be the watch dog today and I had considered filling in myself, but I knew that I really needed to get a good workout in.

As I was leaving, more cops were arriving as well as an ambulance so it looked like everything was under control. And all of my stuff was there and untouched so I packed up and headed home. I know it's not something that I normally think about, but apparently being a watch dog is a dangerous job!

** As an update, the story gets worse and better: I found out that the cut on his arm was actually from one of the girls biting him! How crazy is that? The good news is that the girls were arrested, so at least they're not out there on the streets right now continuing on with their bad drunken behavior. **

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Our Own Private Pool

This morning I met Laura for a swim. We had to change pools at the last minute and ended up going to the Atlantis Health Club / Marriott Hotel swimming pool. When we walked into the pool area, I wasn't so sure about it. It was only a 50-foot pool (16.66 yards), so really short. The shallow end was also extremely shallow (only 3 feet deep!).

Once I got in, however, I felt a lot better about the pool. The nicest part was that Laura and I were the only people in the pool for most of the time we were there. At some point a couple came and swam for a while, but that still meant that Laura and I had half of the pool to ourselves. I don't think Laura was ever really as excited as I was about the pool, but I loved that no one else was there and that we didn't have to worry about crazy swimmers messing up our swimming time.

The three-foot deep shallow end was a little weird. At some point I realized that it would be a good way to practice dolphins as if I was doing a beach start for a triathlon. It actually was pretty good practice and I am really hoping that Westchester is a beach start instead of a deep water start.

All in all, I swam for 23:46 and went 3500 feet (0.66 miles). I know that I'm going to have to start doing longer workouts and I am now feeling like I can get back into the groove of working out every day. I was just going through a bit of a rut after Staten Island and with the holiday weekend, but I am feeling a lot better about this now. All I need now is for the weather to cooperate!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'm Going 5 Miles An Hour And I'm Wearing A Helmet

This morning, we all got up and headed over to the gun range for some shooting. Drew needed to practice for his big trip to Africa at the end of the month. We shot handguns and rifles. The biggest rifle I shot was a .308, which definitely had some kick! It was a fun way to spend the morning.

We got back to Drew's parents' house and I changed into my running gear. Drew had caught a bit of a cold, so he couldn't run with me. So, we did something really silly instead. Drew rode along beside me on his mom's scooter. I'm pretty sure he felt ridiculous riding around going 5 or 6 mile per hour and wearing a helmet.

The run was basically a big rectangle. The original run that Drew had mapped out was 4.5 miles, but I only ended up running 4.0 miles. I ran that distance in 43 minutes (10:43 pace). The last road on the rectangle was a more major road (instead of the more country roads we had been on earlier). Drew said he wouldn't be able to go so slowly on that road, so he drove off toward home. About 3 minutes later, I heard a very familiar sound and Drew was there behind me. He had done a circle as a surprise. I was really glad I was still running and wasn't cheating and walking.

I've been getting a lot of headaches while running in the heat recently. Today was no exception. I'm hoping I can get to the bottom of this because I think I'd be able to keep going (although at my slow pace) if my head wasn't pounding.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fair-Weather Triathlete

This morning I woke up to rain and didn't go to the Terrier brick (although I'm not 100% sure that there actually was a Terrier brick). I figured when it was still raining at 5:15 that I wouldn't be happy out there in the rain. Then, I went to work early in the hopes that it wouldn't be raining when I got out of work early. Nope. Torrential downpour on my way home. I'm now declaring myself to be a fair-weather triathlete. I'm also headed to Wisconsin for the weekend with Drew and some other friends. I'm planning on running at least twice while I'm there, so hopefully that will be enough to offset my milking of the excuse "I just did a triathlon."

Next week I will start training for Westchester, I promise.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

There Was Some Trickery Involved

When I woke up this morning it looked like it was just foggy outside and I was thinking that would be just fine for going for a bike ride. I laid in bed for a few more minutes and then I noticed that the terrace was a bit wet in patches where it hadn't been a few minutes before. I then cursed Mother Nature and the rain. However, after getting out of bed and going outside, I realized that it wasn't actually raining. I got dressed and looked outside again. And then there it was raining again! I decided I would have to give up on the bike riding idea and go to the gym.

Of course, when I got outside to start walking to the gym, it wasn't raining at all and it was just rather muggy outside. I will say that right then and there I wasn't very happy with the trick that was being played on me, especially since the last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym. But, I went anyway. I got on the treadmill and just did a quick two miles (at a 9:42 pace). I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time after getting off the treadmill to get in a lot of good stretching. Boy oh boy, is the treadmill boring! I even was listening to my iPod and watching Sports Center with subtitles, but it's just not the same as running outside. I wish that all this rain would just go away. I had had enough of it a month ago. And now it's July and we're supposed to be dying with heat and it's barely 70 degrees outside right now. This global warming thing sure is an odd beast.