Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Very Merry Un-Birthday To Me!

This morning I went and picked up my bike, which was outfitted with the new pedals. These shoes and pedals are an early birthday present from Drew. Again, I'm just reminded how lucky I am to have such a supportive boyfriend in all of this triathlon stuff. I got really lucky when I picked up my bike, because even though the shop was pretty busy, the guy who was helping me really made sure that I was going to be okay before he let me go.

First, he had the guys loosen up the pedals so that it would be easier to get my shoes in and out. Then we went outside and he walked along beside me holding my arm while I practiced clipping in and out several times. He also gave me some tips about riding in traffic (don't clip both feet in - at least not yet) and suggested that I practice clipping in and out at home with my arm against the wall. He said it'll get a lot easier once I can learn where the cleats are and then it'll be pretty automatic.

I then rode myself over to the park and met Drew for a quick ride in the park. I didn't crash or fall over on my way there, which I thought was successful. I had to wait for him for about 10 minutes, so I spent that time just going back and forth on a little patch of sidewalk and clipping in and out. The clipping out is a lot easier for me to do than getting in. The guy at Toga said that clipping in will get easier as my pedals are used more. I also am having an easier time getting my right foot in, but I'm sure with practice my left foot will get more used to this.

I did notice that I feel like I'm giving about the same effort, but it all seems a lot easier with these shoes and pedals. My speed, however, did not reflect that. I went 5.15 miles in 21:17 (14.5 MPH pace). I'm not too worried about that. At least I didn't get worse than I was before! I'm sure that once I get more used to clipping in, I'll be better. I spent at least 3 minutes starting out trying to get my left foot clipped in. I'm sure that didn't help matters any. I also didn't really do a long ride today because I didn't want to be too tired for swim practice this afternoon.

When I got to swim practice, coach Megan wasn't there. Instead coach Dave was. I introduced myself and then hopped in the pool to see what sort of workout I was in store for. Turned out to be a really long one:

300 Warm-Up
8 x 50 Drills
300 Pull
3 x 300 Main Workout
100 Easy
3 x 150 Main Workout II
50 Warm-Down

Total: 2500 meters / 70 minutes

Oh, yeah, that's right. I found out that the pool is in meters not yards. That means that my previous paces weren't quite right. Either way, it still felt like a good workout all the times before! I've noticed at the swim workouts that people tend to come about 2 minutes late, which makes choosing a lane a little bit harder. Mostly because I'm on time and I'll get in a lane without a lot of people only to discover 5 minutes later that it's packed. Today I went in the 2nd fastest lane, thinking that I would be happy to travel at the back of the pack but would still get a good workout. That's not exactly what happened.

We started with the 300 warm-up. We did some alternating breathing and some single sided breathing during the warm-up. Then we moved onto the drills. The 8 x 50s were broken down into 2 x 50 skull, 2 x 50 drill, 2 x 50 kick, 2 x 50 head-up freestyle. I noticed right away that traveling in the middle of the pack was probably a little slower than my normal pace. I decided to stick it out in the middle as I knew I just didn't have the stamina today to lead for very long. We did do a lot of switching around in my lane to try to get the pacing to work out right.

After the first set of drills, we did 300 pull. We did the first 100 alternating breathing, second 100 breathing every 4th stroke and the last 100 alternating breathing. I will admit that I forgot at some point during the second hundred what I was supposed to be doing and just started breathing every time on the right. I did correct myself once I remembered. Oops.

Then came the long set. I'm actually glad that we did a long set. I've felt like my last few swim workouts were shorter sets, which I think is good, but I was sort of in the mood for a long swim. The 900 was broken down into 300s. The first 300 was descending pace (slower to faster), the second 300 was tempo pace (about 85% effort), and the final 300 was fast. Being stuck in the middle made me feel like the whole thing was pretty much about the same 75% effort. The girls who were swapping off the lead the majority of the time did ask me a few times if I wanted to lead, but I was content to just hang back today.

I changed my mind when we learned our next task would be to swim 100 easy. I went ahead and volunteered for that! The funny thing was that when I was heading back on the first 50, I realized that there were 2 less people in the lane. They had thought the workout was over and had gotten out to start heading to the showers. They were wrong. They had to get back in the pool and finish the workout.

Next we did 3 x 150s that were identical to the prior workout (descending, tempo and fast), just shorter. I somehow got roped into finally leading the lane on the last fast portion. On the last 50 of that set, I really pushed hard since I knew that would be the end of the workout. When I got to the wall, coach Dave looked at me and said that my stroke looks great! I was so happy to hear that. I had been wondering for a while now if I really remembered everything I learned about swimming as a kid. I think I was also really happy to hear that it looked good while going fast. I know I feel sometimes that my stroke might be going to hell in order to try to go faster, but it was good to know that it still looks good.

Finally, we were given a 50 cool-down and we got to hit the showers. I know I didn't put in 100% effort today, but it was still a killer workout and I'm exhausted. Definitely going to be an early night for me. I'll have to practice that whole clipping in thing tomorrow instead.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Let's See How We Feel

This morning Drew and I got up and went over to Toga (LBS) with my bike so that I could get new shoes and pedals for my bike. I tried on a couple of different pairs of shoes but ended up with a pair of Specialized shoes. I love the buckle part. I had tried on the shoes that only had velcro, but these felt a lot more secure on my foot. We decided that we would just leave my bike at the shop so that they could put the pedals on the bike, the cleats on my shoes, and I also wanted to get a second water bottle cage, so they put that on as well. I'll go tomorrow and pick it up.

After that, Drew and I headed over to his apartment to change clothes and workout. I really wanted to go for a run and Drew really wanted to go to the gym and lift, so we decided to do both things. We headed over to the reservoir and started our run. I could tell that Drew wasn't loving it right away. It was sort-of weird because a year ago, we were in the exact opposite positions. I was hating the running and this time it really wasn't his favorite thing. I asked him how he was doing about a 1/4 of the way around and got a "Fine" in response. I'm sure that the part that is hard for him is that 2 months ago he was going to the gym every day (twice a day) and would have kicked my butt while running. Now he's working 16-18 hour days and hasn't been going to the gym as much. Despite all that, we still finished the 1.6 mile loop in 15:30 (9:41 pace), which seems pretty good to me. I decided that I'd just like to keep my running around this pace and finish the sprint triathlon running portion in 30 minutes or less. I think I can do it. The good news from today is that my shins weren't bothering me at all. I'm not really sure I understand what happened yesterday, but I'm glad that it wasn't long lasting.

While we were running, there was some discussion about going to the gym and what sort-of lifting we would do. Drew said, "Let's just see how we feel." I took that to mean that he wasn't really in the mood to go to the gym and do anything. I decided that we should just go to the gym and do 4 lifts. I know that he didn't want to go and lift at the moment, but I think while we were there he started feeling better. We had each chosen one arm lift and one leg lift. I chose calf raises and curls and he chose leg extensions and bench presses.

We started off with the bench presses. I normally just lift the bar, which is what I started with. I did 10 reps at 45. The next set, Drew wanted to add some weight for me. He put on 10 pounds. I lifted it three times before asking him to take it off. I finished that set of 10 at 45 pounds. The final set he increased the weight to 50 and I did all 10 at 50 pounds.

Then we did the leg extensions. We used the Strive machine that has this egg-shaped thing that will change the tension for each set that you do based on where you move it (I am doing a horrible job of describing this). Anyway, I did all 3 sets of 10 at 70 pounds, but because the tension changed with this egg-shaped thing, they did get harder.

After that were the calf raises. I like to do them on the leg press machine. Drew wanted to do them on some other machine that I don't like as much, but I figured since it was my choice do this exercise I should choose which machine we got to use. I did the first set of 15 at 90 pounds, the second set of 15 at 110 pounds and the third set of 15 at 135 pounds. When I was done with the last set, I made a comment that it really wasn't that bad. That's when Drew added more weight to bring it up to 160 pounds and I managed to do 12 calf raises. I was actually really surprised at that and surprised at how much stronger I am getting.

Finally, we did the curls. I used 15 pound weights in each hand and did three sets of 10. I was definitely struggling by the end of each set. I wish that I could magically make my arms as strong as my legs. Although I know that my arms are getting stronger, it just seems like it's taking longer for them to get in shape.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Oh, My Aching Shins

I was hoping when I woke up this morning that the weather would cooperate with my grand plans and let me go for a run this morning without having to get rained on. No such luck. I decided to be wimpy and stay in bed. I did, however, pack a bag so that I could go to the gym during lunch time today.

I hit the treadmill and did my normal 5 minute walking warm-up. I noticed while I was walking that my shins were not very happy with me. I decreased the incline to zero, hoping that would help. The last couple of times where I've had some shin pain while walking on the treadmill, it's gone away once I started running. That didn't happen today. The first mile was okay, not horrible. Once I got past the first mile of running, that's when I had more pain and a mental fight with myself. Half of me said that I should just toughen up and work through this and the other half was asking what was I trying to prove? That I could injure myself further? That's about when I realized that I would be very happy with my mile and a half of running for the day.

This listening to your body stuff isn't as easy as it sounds like it should be. I think part of the problem is that I had wanted to try to increase my mileage today and by doing less I somehow felt like I was taking a step backwards. The other (similar) problem is that according to my training plan, I was supposed to run for 35 minutes today and I only lasted for a total of 21, including the walking.

The silver lining in all of this? I ran my mile and a half in 13:15 or an 8:50 pace! Way to go me! Including the walking, I did 2.0 miles in 21 minutes, which is a 10:30 pace. Still not so bad.

I found a restorative yoga class that I'm going to go to after work today. I'm hoping that will sort-of renew my energy and help me get in some good workouts this weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off Schedule

Last night I was hoping that the weather would cooperate and Drew and I would be able to go for a run this morning. However, he didn't get home from work until 2 AM, so I completely understand that he didn't really feel like getting up at 6 to go running with me. I stayed in bed myself and was hoping that the weather would clear up. I know that triathlons don't stop for rain and that I should still get out there and do it, but since I haven't had a day off in a while, I decided to switch days off and take the whole day off today. According to my training plan, I could have had Monday and Friday off this week, so I think switching and having today off is perfectly fine. I'll get in the run tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thoughts While Swimming

This morning I met Laura at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club for a swim. It's a bit of a dreary morning here - overcast and sprinkling - which always seems like a good day for swimming. The pool was fairly decent. It's a 25-yard pool with an atrium that has a retractable roof over half of it. I can imagine that on a sunny day it would be really nice, but today it just looked okay. I also thought it was a little weird that they had the roof open about a foot wide, but maybe they only close it all the way if it really starts raining.

We lucked out because right when we got there two guys who were in one lane got out so we had a lane to ourselves ... but only for about half of the time. Then a guy came who was swimming pretty quickly and caused a bit of congestion. I was actually really nervous a couple of times because I would be swimming one way, Laura would be swimming the other, and the guy would swim in the middle of us and I was worried that one time he and I would just bash heads, bleed out and drown. Probably a little melodramatic on my part, but what else is there to think about while swimming?

Anyway, I had printed out a workout from and I was really happy because the pool was the right length and I didn't have to do any funny conversions! This was the workout:

8 x 25 yd Freestyle Swim (even pace), rest 0:10/25 yd
Build-Up (repeat 8 times):
1 x 25 yd Single Arm (6 x left, 6 x right, 6 x full stroke), rest 0:10/25 yd
1 x 25 yd Freestyle Catch Up, rest 0:10/25 yd
6 x 50 yd Freestyle Swim, target time 0:48/50 yd, rest 0:20/50 yd
6 x 50 yd Freestyle Swim, target time 0:48/50 yd, rest 0:15/50 yd
6 x 50 yd Freestyle Swim, target time 0:48/50 yd, rest 0:20/50 yd
6 x 50 yd Freestyle Swim, target time 0:48/50 yd, rest 0:10/50 yd
2 x 50 yd Freestyle Easy, rest 0:15/50 yd

Total Distance: 1900 yards (1.08 miles) / Total Time: 47 minutes

During the warm-up and build-up portions, I didn't take the rest times. I just swam through that portion. During the core, my time was probably more like 0:49 seconds each time on average than 0:48. Some I got 0:47, some were 0:50, but the majority were 0:49. I was a little frustrated because I only got 0:48 once, but a lot of the times it would be 0:49:03, so if I had just looked a half-second sooner, I would have been right on. During the core portion was when there was some traffic problems in the lane, so sometimes I took a longer rest than was specified in order to let the traffic clear and sometimes a shorter rest just depending on how the positioning of people was.

I thought the pool and the facilities were okay. Definitely a good location for a pool for both me & Laura. Luckily we had both brought everything we would have needed, including towels because they only had towels available to rent, which I think is a little bit lame. The hair dryers weren't that great and although I had brought my own, it wasn't really worth the effort to get it out. All in all, I think that I'd definitely go back and use the free pass that we have once more, but I don't think I'd seek out a membership there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back With The Group

This morning I got up early so that I could make it to the Terrier group run. I haven't been in quite a while because of the weather and my foot, so it was nice to be able to go for the group workout. I decided again that since I'm just starting to get back to outdoor running, I should go easy and not overdo it like I have in the past. I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record on this going easy stuff, but I'm hoping that maybe next week I can give it a shot to go a bit further.

Anyhow, I walked from my apartment to the entrance of the park and then jogged to the meeting spot (0.72 miles). At 6:00 when the workout is supposed to start, there were 5 people there, including me. Once we started the workout several more people had gotten there and it ended up being about 25 people. The weather this morning is also a bit cooler than it has been recently. It was about 55 when I left my apartment but the wind was blowing quite strongly, so I'm sure that made it more like 45. I was a little chilly walking to the park, but once I started jogging, I felt much better.

We did several stride drills and this time I remembered to keep track of how many back and forth lengths we did so that I could figure out the exact distance. Turns out we did 0.54 miles in drills this morning. Then we were supposed to do a group 'hammer run'. This would have consisted of 9 lengths, where every third length you were supposed to "drop the hammer" and run hard (about 95% effort). The rest of the lengths were supposed to be about 85% effort.

However, because of everything, I decided that I would run with the group to the starting point and then just head home since they were running my way. I had kept track of the time spent running this morning (not including the drills) and knew by the amount of time that I had probably reached about the max that I should do for the day.

The total distance the I ran was 2.03 miles, including the drills. The distance not including the drills was 1.49 miles, which I ran in 15:12 (10:12 pace). I am really hoping that next week I can feel ready to give more of the group workout a shot and also be at the point where I won't re-injure myself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Day To Remember

This morning Drew and I got up, ate breakfast, and then spent the morning visiting the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, which is in New York as part of Fleet Week. I thought it was an aircraft carrier, but apparently it's an amphibious assault ship (who knew they existed?), so it looks similar to an aircraft carrier, but not as tall or long, and it can partially flood with water to take on other boats. Given that today is Memorial Day, it seemed like an excellent reason to go and talk to some of the Marines and Sailors on board and say thanks for their service.

After that, Drew headed to work for a few hours and I headed home. He called around 2 and said he was done with work and would be heading to his house and would I want to meet him for a brick? I will say that I wasn't really in the best of moods about this idea. Mondays are supposed to be my days off! I also was nervous that doing a brick outside would be really hard and I'd fail.

We met in the park for our ride. It just so happened that we just happened to meet up on the road around the park, so we didn't even need to stop. Perfect timing on our parts. I decided that if I thought I had a chance of doing a successful brick, I would need to skip the Harlem hill and just cut across at 90th Street. We decided that we would go around the loop (minus the big hill) twice. The total mileage on the bike was 13.33, which I completed in 1:01. This also included my time traveling to the park since I didn't reset once I met up with Drew. Average speed: 13.1 MPH. (I also rode home from his house, which adds another 16:45 of riding time and another 3 miles to total for a grand total of 16.33/1:17).

A lot of the time riding my bike I spent thinking about this upcoming sprint triathlon and how I'm not sure I'm ready for it. Drew is a lot better rider than me (those boys and their strong leg muscles make it hard to compete). I spent a lot of the ride looking at the back of his shirt up in the distance. I definitely don't mind that he rides ahead of me because when we do meet up and ride together I feel a bit like I'm holding him back. Today I was just thinking about how he'd be able to finish the bike ride for the sprint much faster than me and I was feeling a bit down in the dumps about it.

Despite that, after our ride, I jumped off the bike, threw my helmet at Drew and started running around the reservoir. Right when I started running, for about the first 20 seconds, I just had to laugh out loud at how ridiculous my legs felt. My legs still haven't recovered from our workout with Billy on Saturday and I'm sure that was part of it too. Once I got up to the pathway, I felt like I actually was going to be okay.

I was really nervous before starting because the path around the reservoir is 1.6 miles and I wasn't sure if I should run for that long with my heel because all of my other recent running has been indoors. I was also really scared that I wouldn't be able to complete it because I would just be too tired. I figured that I would just do my best and see what happened. Turns out I shouldn't have doubted myself so much. I kept an easy even pace the entire time and felt really good while running. I completed the whole loop in 15:40 (9:45 pace), so I feel awesome about that.

It's funny how my mood could turn around in 15 minutes. By the time I finished the run I was thinking to myself that of course I'll be able to complete the sprint triathlon. I won't win, but I'll be able to finish, which is what I'm looking for. The other thing I should mention is that at the end of 2008, Drew and I made a list of things that we wanted to do in 2009. It included all sorts of things, but one thing on my list was that I wanted to run around one loop of the reservoir without stopping on two separate occasions. Obviously, when I made that list, I had no idea that I'd be able to complete one loop after having biked for 13 miles previously. It really feels great to be able to put one check mark next to that on the list ... and to know that there are many more runs to come.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A New Bike Route

This morning I woke up and could feel the full effects of the class with Billy yesterday. My calves especially were tired. I guess that's a good thing in the long run. Today I decided that instead of trying to brave the park and all of the people that I knew would be there, I would try out the bike route along the Hudson and up Riverside Drive.

I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea if it would be packed with people or if it would be pretty empty. I also had no idea if it was a one-way path or two-way. So, I had a lot to learn. Turns out that it's busy for about the first 40 blocks and it's a two-way path. I entered the path at 52nd Street. From there it's a two-way path along the river. At about 75th Street, the path goes up into Riverside Park. That part is really beautiful. I forgot how nice that park is. From there, you exit the Park at 95th Street and from there, the rest of the way is on city streets, which really wasn't at all what I was expecting.

The city streets are a bit stop and go because of the lights and I was a little unsure if I could just go through the red lights (plus, I saw a few police cars that made me feel like I should wait for the lights to turn green). I also managed to get something into my eye, so that was a stop for a few minutes while I tried to get whatever speck of dirt out. The route is also really windy, I'm sure because it's so close to the water. There are these two bridges (more like raised roadways) that you cross over and those are extremely windy.

I went up to 165th Street, which is where the road splits and you can head to the George Washington Bridge to Jersey. I decided that was a good way to see what the route would be like for when I'm a better rider and can go on the long rides in Jersey. At least now I'll know how to get there!

I turned around then and headed back home. The ride home was a lot faster than the ride there. Mostly because I knew more of what to expect on the way home. I also got up to my fastest speed ever: 23.4 MPH! I was going just as fast as the Porsche that was driving next to me. That was a nice feeling. It's also a lot easier to go through the red lights on the way home (going south) since there isn't any cross traffic that way. I also lucked out and when I entered Riverside Park, I just happened to meet up with two people who were quickly biking through so I decided to just hang out behind them and draft a little bit. It was actually really nice and it made me go much faster (about 14.5 MPH average) than I would have gone by myself.

In total today, I rode for 1 hour 7 minutes and went 13.4 miles. That's an average of 12 MPH. Not my finest ride, but now that I know the route I'm confident that I can be faster next time. I also noticed that there is very minimal traffic on Riverside Drive, so I think that this could be a really good route alternative to the park. The park will still be nice because there aren't the same hills on this new route as in the park and I'll definitely need hill practice for my race. But hopefully this new flatter route will help me get my speed up.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Look Like A Gorilla

This morning Drew and I met with Billy to do a workout in the park. Billy does a weekly class in the park, but this was a private class with just the two of us. It was nice that it wasn't the whole group, because it sounds like there is a fair amount of running in the regular group classes and with my heel I'm just not quite back up to speed yet. This was a good preview of what the class would be like, just not including the running. We did a ton of different exercises - mostly body weight stuff. I'll probably bore you with the details below, so consider yourself warned. Also, I tried to remember everything we did although this isn't necessarily the order in which we did the exercises.

I do know that we started out with some squats onto a park bench. We started doing regular squats with our knees slightly more than hip distance apart, but Billy then made us move our feet closer together. He said that he had just read an article about how doing squats this way and how it's more 'real'. If you think about it, when a basketball player squats in order to take a shot, he isn't standing with his feet wide, he's standing normally. It definitely made more sense once he explained it.

We then did some knee raises while leaning on the benches. We started off doing them slowly and concentrated on stretching our calves, but eventually Billy made us do them faster. We did sets of 15, 15 and 30 fast. Then we moved on and Billy put resistance bands around our ankles. I thought we were supposed to shuffle down the walkway, but apparently I was cheating by putting a bounce in my step. Billy ran after me and explained that I was only supposed to slowly step my way down the walkway. Turns out that's harder and not quite as fun. We did that there and back and then did lunges there and back.

This is the point where things get a little fuzzy in terms of the order in which we did the exercises so I'm just going to make it up a little bit from here on out. We jumped up onto the benches and did about 40 calf raises. I had the benefit of holding on to Billy's arm, otherwise I think I would have slipped off the bench in a couple cases. I think it actually helped me get a better stretch than Drew probably got. We then headed over to the railing, which I think was maybe about 2 1/2 feet high. We did push-ups against that. Regular push-ups, really wide-armed push-ups and then really narrow push-ups where we were supposed to keep our elbows in. They were really similar to the pilates push-ups that Nicole had me do yesterday. I have to say that it was right around this time that I realized that I was glad that I had gone swimming last night and didn't have to go tomorrow since I think my arms will be exhausted.

Then we laid down on our backs in the grass and did some shin and calf exercises. When I explain them, they sound extremely easy. However, after you've done, say 30 of them, your shins are burning! So, you lay down and pull your knees into your chest. Then you hold onto your knees or shins and point your toes and then flex your feet as far back as possible. I was shocked at how much harder it was than I was expecting.

From there we flipped over in the grass and went into a plank position. Then we had to crawl forward in that position towards Billy, who was maybe about 20 feet away. Once we had gotten there, we had to crawl backwards, all while maintaining the plank position. That wasn't so bad, but then he had us shuffle to the right, still holding plank. I found this to be almost impossible and ended up "walking like a gorilla on its knuckles" as Drew described it. I didn't hold the plank very well it seems. Then, to add to the fun, once we had gone about 15 feet to the side, we then held plank position and switched between our forearms and our hands. We did that 5 times, which I thought was maybe 2 times too many. And then to add to the fun, we had to repeat the shin/calf exercises 40 more times.

Then we headed back over to the park benches and Billy set up some of the big rubber bands that he had brought with him. He tied them to the back of the bench. We had to pull them towards us 30 times on the right, 30 times on the left, and 30 times using both arms in a bit of a squat position. When we were done with that, we had to see how many push-ups we could do in 30 seconds against the railing. I did 11 in my allotted 30 seconds, which I was happy with. Then, of course, we had to repeat that whole thing - the rubber bands and push-ups. I'm happy to report that I did 12 push-ups the second time around.

Then we did a tiny bit of cardio. We did 10 really short sprints - maybe about 20 feet long. Drew did comment that he thought it was barely enough time to get up to full speed and I sort-of agree. Although I think he might just be saying that because we were pretty neck and neck the whole time. After that we did the same distance, but instead of running we did 10 high knee raises. In fairness (and mostly because his legs are longer) Drew beat me at all of those. It wasn't even really a contest, I just happened to notice.

We moved back to the big rubber bands for some punching exercises. We had to punch 30 times with our right hand followed by 30 times with our left hand. The punching was definitely harder than the pulling and I was surprised when Drew quit with his left hand. I barely could finish, but I did.

After that, Billy set up an orange resistance band for me on the park bench. It had two handles. I was supposed to lift both handles all the way above my head 30 times. I managed to do it 15 times. It was really my left arm that slowed me down. It's just crazy to me when you realize that one arm is much stronger than the other. Or maybe it's really that my right arm just has more stamina than the left. Either way, I was glad that I didn't have to do what Drew did. He didn't get the "easy" orange bands, he had to stand on one of those giant rubber bands and pull it over his head. That seemed (and was) much harder than what I had to do.

The last exercise we did was something that I had been wanting to do since I started watching "The Biggest Loser." Billy looped the rubber bands together and he got in the back rubber band and Drew got into the forward rubber band. Drew then had to run and pull Billy while Billy was busy resisting and pulling Drew back. Drew did that twice before I got my turn. I thought that it would be impossible since I know that Billy has a big advantage in holding me back, but I managed to keep doing it. He really wanted us to just keep picking up our feet and keep swinging our arms the entire time. He explained that by doing that we covered about three times the distance that we actually went. Drew noticed that I seemed to have better form than he did. I was actually glad to hear that. I think it means that I'm starting to incorporate some of the strides lessons that I've learned at the Terrier runs.

So, that was the whole workout. We walked back to Drew's apartment. It was definitely a good workout. It was a lot different than the ones that I'm used to and I did feel like I had cheated a little bit because there wasn't any cardio involved, but that is clearly my own fault because of my heel. I know I'm getting better, but I still don't want to push things too fast again. I would definitely want to try out Billy's group class once I'm back in running shape, so that's something to look forward to.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Did I Make A Wrong Click?

This morning I woke up to some muscles that were sore after yesterday's strength workout. Especially my quads. Turns out when you're not doing those leg presses very often, your legs sort of forget how to recover as quickly. I later realized that my arms were pretty tired as well, but that's skipping ahead.

Today just before lunch, Nicole asked me if I'd like to join her and another co-worker for a pilates mat session. I didn't have any workout clothes with me, so once I had borrowed shorts from someone else at work and a t-shirt from Drew, I was all set for the session. The other person who was going to join us bowed out, so I ended up getting a private session.

I don't know if it was just that my muscles were tired from yesterday or because I hadn't eaten lunch yet, but I definitely struggled. I think part of it might be that Nicole is now trying to teach some of the intermediate moves and she stuck a few of those in. Whatever the reason, it was definitely a good lunch time workout! I was really glad that I had brought an entire sandwich instead of my usual 1/2 sandwich for lunch today.

The afternoon at work was a bit slow (most people left early for the holiday weekend), so I spent a few minutes checking out the website Susan has mentioned it in her blog a few times recently and I was intrigued by the whole thing. I'll admit that I just sort of guessed when it asked me my split times and it might be that I over-estimated myself a bit. This was the workout that it created for me:

Warm Up:
2 x 100 yd Any Stroke, rest 0:15 (216)
Build Up:
1 x 50 yd Freestyle Breath Left, rest 0:15 (54)
1 x 50 yd Freestyle Breath Right, rest 0:15 (54)
2 x 200 yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 3:40 (432)
2 x 100 yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 1:55 (216)
2 x 200 yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 3:40 (432)
4 x 50 yd Freesyle Swim, leave on 1:02 (216)
Warm Down:
1 x 100 yd Freestyle Easy, rest 0:20 (108)
1 x 100 yd Easy Any Stroke, rest 0:20 (108)

So, here's the thing ... the pool at my gym is an 18 yard pool, not 25 yards. It'd be a lot easier to do these workouts if I could count evenly. So, I have to convert everything to an 18-yard scale. The workout today was supposed to be 1700 yards, but because of my conversions (and rounding up) I ended up swimming 1836 yards. I certainly don't mind the extra swimming, it just makes everything a bit more interesting. So, the amounts in parentheses above are the actual distances I swam. I will say that I was a little disappointed in this workout only because I said that I was willing to use a kickboard or pull buoy and I didn't get anything 'fun' to do. Just regular swimming.

I realized during the warm-up that my arms were exhausted from yesterday. I know exactly what did it. It was those decline bench presses. At the end of them yesterday my arms were pretty much wiped and somehow I just hadn't been thinking about using my arms today while I was doing them.

I was wondering when I was swimming the core portion of the workout if I had completely over-estimated my swimming abilities. The first 2 x 200 that was supposed to be completed in 3:40 I did them in 3:31 and 3:43. It was really the second one that got me wondering if I had done it all wrong. Now that I see the math and that I was really swimming an extra 32 yards everytime, I think that I would have been more right on if my pool was a bit more cooperative. On the second set I finished in 3:35 and 3:31. I felt really good about the last one being faster than the previous two. The 4 x 50 set I did in about 0:50 each time, so I think that maybe I did guess correctly on the time splits.

I think that even if I did slightly over-estimate my abilities, it is a really good way for me to get in the pool and try to push myself. I'm not sure that I'm in love with this particular swim plan, but the good thing is that it will generate a new plan for you each time. I'm sure I'll find some that I like more than others, but this was a really good workout for me today. Sometimes when I'm swimming by myself I don't feel like I'm giving it all I've got and this swim was definitely a challenge, which was exactly what I needed.

Tomorrow morning Drew and I are going to meet with his personal trainer for a private class in the park. I'm sure with my tired arms and legs I won't be in tip-top shape for this class, but I think it will be great to get outdoors and enjoy the weather! I also know that the last time Drew and I met with his trainer it was before all of this triathlon training and I had a bad attitude. I'd like to redeem myself just a little bit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Same Old, Same Old

Last night I had been planning on going to both the gym and to yoga today, but when I left work I decided that all I really had in me was one activity and so I ended up just hitting the gym and skipping the yoga.

I started off in the boy area and decided that I would try to do the regular triathlon strength workout, including some of the leg lifts I had been avoiding because of my heel.
This was what I did:

Leg Presses: 3 sets x 10 reps @ 90 pounds
Calf Raises: 3 sets x 10 reps @ 90 pounds
Seated Rows: 1 set x 10 reps @ 60 pounds, 2 sets x 10 reps @ 70 pounds
Hamstrings: 1 set x 10 reps @ 50 pounds, 1 set x 5 reps @ 60 pounds, 1 set x 8 reps @ 50 pounds
Seated Bent Arm Lat Pull Down: 1 set x 10 reps @ 60 pounds, 1 set x 10 reps at 70 pounds, 1 set x 5 reps at 80 pounds
Decline Bench Press: 3 sets x 15 reps @ 35 pounds

I was really glad to be able to do the leg presses and calf raises again. I hope I'm not paying for it tomorrow! I couldn't believe how hard the hamstring exercises were. I really don't remember them being that hard the last time that I did them. I felt like I sort-of gave up on that, but I also knew that I just couldn't have lifted it one more time. Part of me wonders if it was harder this time because the muscles there are tighter than they were before? I also am kicking myself for not recording the amount of weight that I lifted the last time that I did hamstrings, so maybe it was just a lot harder because I was lifting more weight. Since I don't know for sure, I think I'll choose to go with that option!

After the weight lifting, I did some stretches before heading to the treadmill. I'm still a little bit bored with these short treadmill runs, so I decided to break it up a little bit more today. This is what I ended up doing:

5:00 minutes walking at 4.0 = 0.32 miles
4:32 minutes running at 6.6 = 0.50 miles
1:00 minute walking at 3.8 = 0.09 miles
4:58 minutes walking at 6.3 = 0.50 miles
2:00 minutes walking at 4.0 = 0.14 miles
1:45 minutes running at 7.0 = 0.21 miles
5:45 minutes walking at 3.5-4.4 = 0.39 miles

Total time = 25 minutes / Total distance = 2.15 miles / Total running distance = 1.2 miles

I also realized today that I've been listening to the same iPod playlist for quite some time, so maybe part of my boredom was that I need some new tunes in the mix. Hopefully this weekend I can make myself a new playlist.

After the treadmill, I headed back over to the stretching area and did some more stretching. I also did a bunch of crunches. The whole time I was doing the crunches I was thinking that all I wanted to do was come home and make myself a smoothie for dinner. And then my next thought was wondering if it's okay to want your boyfriend to move in with you because he has a nicer can opener?

As a complete side note: In case you're wondering, the smoothie was devoured almost instantly. It was pretty good. I used the last can of the combined Toddy Palm Seeds and Jackfruits and tried to use up the majority of the Palm Seeds since they're not the best for smoothies. Drew and I just went to Chinatown last weekend and bought a lot more Chinese fruits but learned our lesson and didn't get any more Palm Seeds. I'd highly recommend the rest of the fruits though!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Very Nice Pool

This morning I got up early and met Laura for a swim. This was crazy on Laura's part because she's currently in-between jobs and doesn't have to get up early for any reason. Although, I'm really glad that she did because I really needed to get myself back into the water. It's been a week and a half since the last time I went swimming!

We met at the Jewish Community Center on Amsterdam at 76th Street. What a nice pool! It's on the 6th floor and the sun was shining in the pool, which made it all the nicer. The rest of the facilities were also really nice (and I was impressed with the fact that they had hair dryers, make-up mirrors and the apple scented shower gel!). We get one more visit to this pool with our Fitness Book coupons, which Laura said that we should save for a special occasion and I can't really disagree with her. Oh! And most importantly, this pool was 25 meters long, which made it a lot better for doing a long swim.

I will say that after the first 150 meters, I was remembering why it's important to train in all 3 sports rather evenly because I was getting a little tired. However, I think it was mostly mind over matter because I then got back into the groove of things. I did the sprint distance (0.3 miles) in 10:16, which I was fairly happy with. I wasn't pushing myself at all, just a nice easy swim. I ended up swimming 0.93 miles (1500 meters) in 32:31. I'm also fairly happy with that time for the Olympic distance.

All in all, it was a really good workout and I was reminded again how nice it is to have someone to meet at the gym and force me out of bed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A First ... And Some Good News!

This morning I woke up and remembered that I had copied Susan and made myself a breakfast cookie last night for the morning. I would say that mine turned out okay ... not fantastic. To be fair, I didn't use her exact recipe and I didn't have any of the fun extras (chocolate chips or coconut) that she had, so I can understand why mine was a little bit bland. I'm not giving up on this and will definitely try again.

After eating my cookie, I decided to play hookey from work again (and also skipped the Terrier run). I know, I know, this makes me a bad person, but it just seemed like a fantastic idea. I really don't feel too badly about it. I'm not looking forward to going back tomorrow, but at least it's only a 3-day week left and next week will be short as well because of Memorial Day, so that's really something to look forward to.

While I was spending my afternoon lounging about, I got a call from the doctor's office that my new orthotics were finally back from being fixed! I was able to get an appointment this afternoon to go and pick them up, so I'm really very happy about that.

The weather today was much more agreeable than yesterday's weather, so I had been thinking of going for a nice long bike ride, but once I got the news about the orthotics, I knew I had to also get some running in to test them out. I decided that I would do a brick for the first time! I don't know if it really counts if I did it at the gym rather than outside, but I biked and then I ran, so I think it's still a brick.

I started out on the spinning bike and I decided that I would wear my new Terrier shorts from Drew to test them out. They're fantastic! I still don't like the seats on the spin bikes, but wearing my new shorts made it all a little bit better. I don't know the mileage that I did since the spin bikes don't have a computer, but I "rode" for 25 minutes. In real life, I think that would get me about 6 miles, so I'm just going to use that as an estimate. I kept the spin bike somewhere in the medium-hard levels and tried to keep my cadence up and consistent the entire time. There was a spinning class coming in, so I had to get off and head over to the treadmills.

I got on and started running right away. After reading so much about the feeling of jell-o legs, I had really expected it to be quite hard and for me to feel really wobbly. I don't know that my legs felt like jell-o, but it didn't take very long for my feet to be quite heavy. Even though I used my new running shoes and my new orthotics, I didn't want to push things too much and get injured again, so I oped to just run for a mile. I did the first 0.60 at 6.5 speed and the remaining part at 6.0 speed. For the very end (the last 0.04 miles) I bumped it up to 7.0 for a little sprint to end things. I finished the mile in 9:30. I then walked for the next 10 minutes. In total, I spent 19:55 on the treadmill and went a total distance of 1.70 miles.

The good news is that I didn't have any of the same sliding that I had before with the orthotics. They feel like they're really snug in my shoes now. Whew! That would have been quite annoying if this hadn't worked out this time. I am feeling a little more confident about this sprint that I have coming up at the end of June than I was yesterday. I know that I'll still be challenged by the race, but now I know that I can move from the bike to the run and survive, which seems like a huge first step.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maybe It's The Weather?

Yesterday I missed the Terrier group swim workout. I'd like to blame it on the mayor and the reduced service in mass transit, or perhaps the AIDS walk that was blocking Central Park, but really, I have no one to blame but myself. I left Drew's apartment a bit too late and as a result got home too late to make it to the swim. I decided just to trade days off and make Sunday my off day.

My usual pilates was canceled this morning since Nicole wasn't going to be there. When I woke up this morning, I really wasn't in the mood to go to work, so I called in sick. I have to say that since February I've not been overly happy at work. I've been hoping that this triathlon training would help me get out of my rut, but some days it just isn't enough. I decided that today would be more of a mental health day. I think that's okay every once in a while. I also think that the fact that it's 55 in the middle of May isn't helping matters any. When will it ever be summer?

I spent the morning watching some documentaries and spent the early afternoon napping. I think it was quite a wonderful day off. I then decided that I needed to get myself up off the couch and head to the gym. I decided that I would up the running to a mile today. I have some aspirations that I could go to the group Terrier run tomorrow morning and just do the drills and then run home, but I'm not 100% sure on that, although I think in theory it's a good idea.

I got to the gym and did a 5 minute walk warm-up (0.32 miles) and then started on the run. I started running at 7.0, but after 0.6 miles, I slowed down to 6.5. I finished the mile in 9 minutes, which I was pretty happy with. I kept walking at 4.2 at increased inclines (4%, 8%, 12%) for the remaining time. I decided that I get pretty bored on the treadmill, so I only did 2.0 miles in 25 minutes total.

I will say that once again, after exercising, I do feel much better in general. The hard part for me is still getting to the gym, but I'm doing my very best. Plus, the sprint tri is on June 27th, so I really had better get myself ready for that! Otherwise I'll probably be really quite sad if I don't finish.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Quick Spin

This morning I spent being rather lazy and watching really bad reality TV. That meant that I sort-of had to hurry and rush around a bit this afternoon as I had to get to the grocery and pet stores and fit in a visit to the gym all before heading off to an evening BBQ!

It rained this morning and by the time I got my act together the weather was actually looking a lot better. I realized that would also mean that the park would most likely be packed with people enjoying the weather. So, I decided to forgo a real bike ride for a spin bike.

I headed to the gym and spent at least 5 minutes getting off the bike, adjusting the seat, getting back on the bike, getting off the bike, adjusting the seat, etc. I don't know why I find it so hard to get in the right spot on those bikes. I also still find the seats to be extremely uncomfortable compared to my actual bike. I spent a sweat-filled 25 minutes on the bike. I played around a bit with the resistance while I was spinning, but mostly kept it somewhere comfortably in the middle and just worked on smooth pedaling.

Sorry for the short post but, I have to hit the showers so I can get to the BBQ only fashionably late and not inexcusably late!

Friday, May 15, 2009

So That's What My Shoulders Look Like?

Last night I didn't make it to the yoga class at the gym. I was hoping that even if I hurried I would be able to make it in time, but because of work, it just wasn't possible. It's the first time in months that I have had to stay late at work, which was a little weird for me to get home late. I considered doing my yoga DVD at home, but I decided that I was content to watch a little bit of TV and catch up on my DVR'd shows.

I then headed over to Drew's house for the night. I made sure to set my alarm so that I would force myself to get up and go to the gym this morning. Originally, I had been thinking that I would go swimming, but then I realized that I really like going to the gym with Drew and I shouldn't pass up an opportunity to do so. It is still amazing to me that I set my alarm for 6 am and I didn't get out of bed until 6:40. I am such a lazy bum in the mornings, which means that I don't get to spend quite as long as I would like to at the gym.

Anyhow, after some prodding from Drew, I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for the gym. We started off in the weight room. This was the workout:

Seated Bent-Arm Lat Pull-Down: 3 sets of 10 reps each at 60 pounds
Standing Straight-Arm Pull Down: 3 sets of 10 reps each at 30 pounds
Wall Sit: 45 seconds
High Cable Row: 1 set of 10 reps at 60 pounds, 1 set of 10 reps at 70 pounds, 1 set of 10 reps at 80 pounds
Push-Ups: 1 set of 5, 1 set of 7, 1 set of 9
Upright Row: 1 set of 10 at 20 pounds, 1 set of 10 at 30 pounds, 1 set of 10 at 35 pounds
Dumbbell Curls: 2 sets of 10 reps each at 15 pounds, 1 set of 5 reps at 15 pounds

I felt pretty good about the workout in general. I don't really like wall sits at all, but I hung in there for the whole 45 seconds, so I felt good about that. I also didn't really understand why we were doing push-ups if it was a "pull day", but when I asked Drew, there was some mumbling about it being a counter-move. I would just like to mention that at about this time last year, I could barely do one real push-up (not the knee kind, the real kind). I'm quite proud of myself that I managed to do 21 in total today!

When we were doing the upright rows, we did them in front of the mirror, and I was really surprised at how muscular my shoulders are looking. Most of the time when I'm doing my exercises, I'm either not in front of a mirror of some sort-of equipment is blocking my view, so I was really surprised (and pleased) with the results of the past few months! I also know that I sort-of quit at the end of the dumbbell curls, but Drew quit on his last set too, so I didn't feel so bad just giving up myself after that.

We then headed downstairs to the cardio area. I decided that I would try to keep going slow and do another half-mile of running again today. Today I walked for 5 minutes (0.32 miles) at 4.0 speed before running for 0.50 miles. I increased the speed on the run today up to 7.0, so I completed the half-mile in 4:20. I then spent the rest of the time walking at 4.2 speed at 4.5 incline. I spent a total of 20 minutes on the treadmill and went a total distance of 1.56 miles.

I then headed over to the stretching area and finished up with some stretches and crunches. All of the time spent in the boy area/weight room today really made my hands a little sore (it looks like I'm starting to get little calluses on my hands). Drew suggested that I could get myself some weight-lifting gloves, but that seems a little silly to me. I'd rather get some fancy lotion to keep them soft.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Real Quick Run

Today at lunch I headed to the gym to test out the progress on my heel. I walked for a while - about 7 minutes and varied the incline throughout that time. I felt like I was getting shin splints during the walk, especially on the higher inclines. Then I decided I would try to ease back into running and run a half mile, which I did in 5:10 minutes. I put the treadmill on level 6.0 for the running, as I didn't want to shock my feet! I then spent the rest of the time walking (all the walking was done at 4.0) at various inclines so that I wouldn't get too bored.

In total, I did 2.12 miles in 30 minutes. So far my heel is feeling fine, which is good. Although it's generally taken a day or two for it to show up, but I think that if I can keep my progress back into running slow and steady I will hopefully be okay. I still haven't gotten my new orthotics back from the doctor, so that's a little frustrating, but with the race only 6 weeks away, I think I'm going to have to at least start doing something.

I'm hoping to make it to the free yoga class at a gym near my house tonight. I've never tried this yoga at the gym before and I've heard that it's not the best in the world, but I'm sure a lot of that depends on the teacher and your general attitude.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Let's Go Really Fast!

After work tonight I was able to talk Drew into going for a bike ride with me. It was really nice to go together and there were a couple of times where he said, "Let's go really fast now!" and the extra push was extremely helpful. I'm hoping that if I can at least get used to riding faster on the flats, that will push my average up even if I'm still plodding along at the same speed on the hills.

These are my times:

Getting to the park: 1.61 miles in 10:19 (9.36 MPH average)
First loop: 6.16 miles in 25:25 (14.54 MPH average)
Second loop (only 3/4 of the way around): 5.15 miles in 21:46 (14.2 MPH average)
Getting home from the park: 0.82 miles in 7:34 (6.5 MPH average)

Total distance: 13.74 miles. Clearly, I still need to work on my speed!

I will say that I think I'm more ready than I was even at this time last week to go get shoes and pedals. Today while I was pedaling, my toes seemed to be losing blood flow, which I'm thinking related mostly to how tight the clips were over my shoes. Turns out that it's not so easy to pedal with numb toes. Also, my right elbow is still bothering me. Drew said he actually noticed some of the same thing and wondered if maybe we're locking our elbows while riding and putting too much stress on them. I'm going to try to get to the bottom of this as it's really not that pleasant.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pretending To Run

This morning was the Terrier group run, but I didn't go because I'm still babying my heel from two weekends ago. My heel is finally back to the point where it doesn't hurt to walk around, which is awesome, and I'm going to try to go slow and get back into the groove of running.

When I left work today, I was exhausted walking home. I thought that I could have just walked into my apartment, laid down and been out for the night. Instead, I had a snack to try and get a little pep in my step and headed over to Drew's. I dropped off my stuff and went to his gym. By the time I got there, I was feeling a little bit better (or at least more awake).

I decided to start in the weight room and I think I did the following workout (I forgot to bring something to write it down exactly, so this is what I remember weight-wise):

Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 10 reps each at 50 pounds
Hamstring Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps each at 10 pounds
Seated Lat Pull-Downs: 1 set of 10 reps at 50 pounds, 1 set of 10 reps at 60 pounds, 1 set of 10 reps at 70 pounds
Chest Press Machine: 3 sets of 10 reps each at 50 pounds
Arm Curl Machine: 2 sets of 10 reps each at 30 pounds

The weight room was packed with boys (I feel justified that I have given it the name of "the boy area"). Those lifts weren't exactly what I had in mind when I was heading to the gym, but they were available pieces of equipment and I didn't really feel like waiting around for the boys to clear out. I decided that I didn't really like the chest press machine. I wanted to do actual bench presses, but all of the benches were saved with towels on them, even though no one was really using any of them. I'm not really sure what my options are in that scenario and I wasn't quite brave enough to just go ahead and move the stuff off the bench. I only did two sets of the arm curls because my right elbow has been bothering me for a while now and that seemed to aggravate it, so I decided to quit while I was ahead.

I headed downstairs to the cardio area and checked out the treadmills. There was a line and I didn't really feel like waiting around there either. Don't worry! I wasn't going to do too much, I was really going to walk for a while, run a 1/2 mile, and then walk some more ... but I figured that the line was a sign that I shouldn't run at all.

I decided to do the next best thing and use the elliptical machine. (I don't actually know that it's the next best thing, but it did let me watch "American Idol", which was all I really cared about). I did a total of 50 minutes - 45 minutes on the cross country setting and a 5 minute cool-down. My total distance was 4.59 miles. My heel is still feeling fine, but I'm a little scared to wake up in the morning and see how it is then.

As a complete side note to my daily stuff, I have firmly lost 5 pounds since starting this whole triathlon training. It was really never my goal to lose weight when I started this and I've waited a couple weeks to report on this weight loss because I wanted to make sure it was going to stick and it wasn't just a fluke. I will say that I'm feeling pretty good about this weight loss. I think going forward my goal will be more to decrease my body fat percentage (so that I'm gaining muscle). Luckily, Drew's scale reports on body fat. I've seen a small decrease since I've started, but I'm hoping to have it go down a bit more.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Would You Hate Those?

This morning Drew and I met Nicole for Drew's first pilates class. We started out on the mat just to get Drew used to some of the exercises. After doing a bit of a warm-up, we did the roll-ups. I hate them. I think something about the shape of my body doesn't really allow me to roll back up very easily. Nicole happened to mention that I don't like them and of course, Drew had to go and show off and do them very easily. He then looked at me and asked, "Why would you hate those?" She explained that the shape of his body makes it a lot easier for him than for me.

We then moved over to the reformer and did several exercises there, including a new intermediate exercise Nicole learned in her most recent class. I'm a little worried that more and more of these intermediate moves will creep into our sessions together, but I'm sure that it'll be good for me.

So, I'm firmly of the belief that Drew cheated during the class. I don't think he really kept his abs tight the whole time. In fact, I know he didn't because he told me so. At the end of class he said that he didn't really consider that to be work, at which point I knew that something must have gone awry. Mostly because I think my abs are stronger than his and if mine were tired from the class and he felt just fine ... something was amiss.

I'm really hoping that he gives it another shot and comes back with me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Can I Have A Ride?

The original plan for this morning was to get up early and go for a bike ride with Drew. Of course, since we stayed out late and got up a bit late, that plan was scrapped. I went with him to get a breakfast smoothie from Jamba Juice and then walked him to work.

I came home and proceeded to procrastinate for as long as possible. I swapped the winter clothes for summer clothes in my closet. I took a nap. I read my book. I made a snack. I finished the book I was reading. At that point, I realized that I just needed to suck it up and go on out for a bike ride.

Right when I was turning the corner from my street onto the Avenue that heads to the park, a guy on the street yelled out, "Hey good lookin' - can I have a ride?" I would just like to state for the record that while I might wear tighter clothes on my bike, I don't think anything about wearing a bike helmet makes me "good lookin.'" I had told myself that by waiting, I had probably done a good thing because the park wouldn't be as crowded. Although that was true, it also gave the people who were still out and about more room to be bad bike riders/runners/roller bladers, etc.

Because of my procrastination, I didn't have a whole lot of time for a long ride. I ended up just going around the loop once (6.07 miles in 24:24 / 14.93 MPH average). The wind was pretty strong today, so I'm glad I got a chance to test out what that is like. There were a couple of times where I knew I was pedaling pretty hard, but I really didn't feel like I was moving because of the wind. I know it's not the best effort that I could have put in today, but I also know that even when I'm not feeling it, it's really important to just go out and do something.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Didn't Want To Get Wet, So I Went Swimming

This morning I woke up early in the hopes that Drew and I could meet for a bike ride in the park. Unfortunately, it had started raining around 4 AM and although it wasn't raining at 6:15, it was still really wet outside. After that plan fell through, I went back to bed for a few hours and enjoyed not having to get up for any particular reason - working out or work.

When I really woke up around 10, I laid in bed and listened to the radio to decide if I thought I could chance going for a ride. Although it still wasn't raining, it's mighty humid out there and it felt as though it could just burst out in a rain storm at any second. I realized that I didn't really like my odds and I really didn't like the thought of biking in the rain, so I decided to go for a swim instead.

When I got to the gym, there was a lane open, so I had that to myself for the majority of the workout. I had printed out the suggested workout from Terrier, but of course, I left that at home so I just did the best that I could to remember it.

I did a quick warm-up, followed by a lot of one-arm drills and kicking drills. The entire triathlon distance I managed to finish in 30:14, which included the time spent on the drills, so I'm really happy with that time. I did a cool down and the entire workout was 1.02 miles, which I completed in 34:45.

I know that I keep complaining about the swimming situation at my gym's pool, but I'd just like to complain (at least) one more time for good measure. When I was just past the mid-way point of my workout, another girl got into my lane. She started out by doing her leisurely breast stroke right down the middle of the lane. I came up behind her and sort-of purposely ran into her so that she'd hopefully get the point and stick to her side of the lane. Obviously, that wasn't effective because a few lengths later, she's doing backstroke and coming right for me. I had to stop, stand up, and stop her so that she'd stay to her own side. Is it really so hard to understand? And generally speaking, I'm quite in favor of circle swimming, but I knew after watching this girl go one length of the pool that she was much slower than I was and it might be better to just split the lane so we could each go the speed that was best for us.

Tomorrow is swimming with the Terriers, so at least that'll be a swim where people get it!

**As an update, I just looked at the website and the Terrier swim tomorrow has been canceled for Mother's Day!**

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lunch-Time Workouts

This has not been my best week ever. Work has been a little bit crazy/frustrating and combining that with my foot frustration, I think I'm just a little off my game workout-wise (and slacking in the blogging department as well).

Yesterday I had set myself up for what turned out to be a disappointment. I went to the gym at lunch, which was really nice. I just did 30 minutes on the cardio bike. The cardio bikes at the gym by work are different than the ones that I've been using the rest of this week. Mostly, I mean that they are a lot harder than the other ones. I switched levels a lot - between levels 8 and 12 - and went 8.05 miles in my 30 minutes (16.1 MPH average).

I had planned on going to yoga after work and using another coupon from the yoga book. I had asked Nicole if she would want to come with me, so we decided to use a coupon that was good for you and a guest. We got there about 15 minutes before the class and no one was there, which was a little odd to us. When the teacher arrived a couple minutes later and we told her about the coupon, she said that the studio didn't honor those coupons and that they've been in arguments with the people who distribute the book to try to get their studio taken out. We could have stayed and paid for the class, but I really thought that defeated the whole purpose of using these yoga coupons. I was a little frustrated about the studio not honoring the coupon and the fact that the teacher wouldn't just let us take the class anyway. Oh well.

After that, I went home and pretty much went right to bed. I think I was asleep right around 8:30 last night. As a result of falling asleep so early, I didn't set my alarm for this morning. Which meant that I didn't make it to the pool to get in a swim. And, since I forgot that I have a date tonight with Nicole to go to dinner and a movie, I won't be getting a workout in after work either. Of course, today is the first day that it hasn't been raining, so I definitely could have gone for a nice bike ride this morning, but my body had a different agenda for me.

Luckily, today will not be a total loss. Nicole has been teaching a pilates mat class to one of our co-workers at lunch on Fridays, so I am going to join them this afternoon. The other good news is that I am no longer limping around and I can actually walk like a normal human being now. My heel definitely is still uncomfortable, but I can tell it's getting better. I'm still not going to rush back into running, since I'm hoping that I learned my lesson last time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Cardio Biking

Although the weather actually would have been okay this morning, I didn't bring my bike to Drew's last night, so I was headed back to the gym for some more indoor workouts. I would just like to mention that I thought the rain was supposed to happen in April, not May! I'm ready for it to be done and over with, although it looks like it's going to be hanging around for the rest of the week.

We got up a little bit later than I think we were expecting to, but that was due to some alarm malfunction (read: it wasn't set correctly) on Drew's part. I'm not really complaining, but my workout was a little bit shorter than I had been planning on last night.

We hit the weight room first and since my legs are pretty much out of commission since I can't bear weight on my heel, we did arm stuff today.

This was the workout that I did:

Seated bent-arm lat pull-down: 3 sets, 15 reps each at 50 pounds
Standing straight-arm pull down: 3 sets, 15 reps each at 30 pounds
Seated row: 1 set, 15 reps at 50 pounds (this was taken over by a personal trainer and her client, which is why I didn't get to finish)
Back extensions: 3 sets, 15 reps each
Curls: 3 sets, 10 reps each at 30 pounds

We then headed downstairs to the cardio area where I got back on the cardio bike. I didn't have a whole lot of time if I also wanted to get to work at the proper time, so I just did 20 minutes on the bike. I did the random hill setting on level 10 again and in my 20 minutes, I went 7.25 miles (21.75 MPH average).

I finished up with some crunches and stretches. I will say that I thought the crunches were easier (not easy!) than they have been in the past, so maybe all of this pilates core work is starting to have some small effect on me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'd like to start by saying that I'm frustrated at myself for the following: (1) hurting my left heel again and (2) not blogging yesterday.

Yesterday morning I woke up and knew instantly that I had hurt my heel again. I was a little confused because it was feeling fine on Sunday, so I wondered if I had somehow aggravated it during swimming on Sunday. Of course, I'm sure it was a delayed reaction from the run on Saturday. I'm sure that it was a combination of the fact that I did a longer run, ran up hills, and didn't have my new shoes or new orthotics.

I will admit right now that I should have just listened to Laura's advice to take it slow and steady when starting back to running. She was right and I was wrong. I'm not too proud to admit it. Since she's been through her own injuries, I should have listened to her and learned from her prior pain. I'm going to try to remember that going forward. And next time, Laura, when you see me making a mistake, could you try to speak up? I give you permission!

So, with my bum heel, I went to pilates yesterday morning. I had a good workout with Nicole. I'm really trying to remember to keep my abs tucked in and my shoulders down, but I still need a lot of work on that. It's a good thing that Nicole is such a watch-dog for that sort of stuff.

I was hoping to make it to the gym again last night after work, but with my heel I was too frustrated and sad to make myself go. I was feeling really discouraged because I had wanted to go and do the strength workout for the day, but two of the lifts (leg presses and calf raises) I can't do because of my heel, which was enough to just push me over the edge and make me not go. I know it wasn't a total waste of a day, but I also wanted to go and do some cardio and make up for skipping out last Friday.

This morning would have been the Terrier run, but that's obviously not a real option for me right now. I decided that I would sleep in and hope that my heel would be magically healed when I woke up. Of course, it wasn't. On my way to work, I dropped off my prescription for Celebrex so that hopefully that would help and at least reduce some of the inflammation in my heel over the next few days.

I knew I had to hit the gym tonight and hopefully put some of this frustration to good use. I rode the cardio bike on the random hill setting on level 10 and had a really nice workout. I rode for 45 minutes and went 15 miles (20 MPH average - why can't I do that in real life?). I really tried my best to keep the cadence up as high as I possibly could. I also watched a video yesterday by Joe Friel on how to bike more efficiently and I tried to put some of those tips into use on the cardio bike, just to get my legs used to the feeling of "scraping the mud off" my shoes. Hopefully that will translate back to the real bike once the weather clears up around here.

I feel much better now that I've gone to the gym. Even if I have to ride the bike most of the time for the next couple weeks. I've decided that I'm not going to try to run again for at least a week (and hopefully by then my orthotics will be back) to let my heel rest and recover. I still have the thought in the back of my head that I might need to re-think this sprint triathlon in June. At this point, my goal is to still compete and if I absolutely have to, I will walk the run portion. I think either way the transition practice will be invaluable for the Olympic in September. I'm just going to try to keep my chin up and keep working out to the best of my ability.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Is Your Defining Moment

This morning I woke up a little bit sore from yesterday's run. Not horrible, but I could definitely tell that my legs were a little bit tired. Which is why I was glad that today I had swimming with the Terriers. I was realizing on my way home from the workout that I like the swimming the most because I am the most confident. I'm hoping that that changes as I get better at running and biking.

I thought today's workout was really pretty easy. There were a lot of people at the practice and I think when we started there were 7 people in my lane, so it was pretty crowded. That meant that we didn't do a really long set, but several shorter sets.

This was the workout:

300 warm-up
6x50 drills (0:15 RI)
16x100 main workout (0:15 RI)
4x25 sprints (0:45 RI)
100 cool-down

2400 yards total in approximately 58 minutes (1.36 miles)

The first set of drills was we could choose any drill we wanted for the first 25 and then we were supposed to swim back. I mostly chose to alternate between using just my left arm and just my right arm since I know that I'm weaker in that when we are assigned that drill previously.

The main workout was broken down into 4-400s. It was similar to last week where we took the 4 fastest people in our lane and went from slowest to fastest and we each led for 400. We had a 15 second RI once the 4th person touched the wall after each 100. Of course, we were also supposed to get progressively faster with each 100.

When it was my turn to lead the group, on my last 100 of leading the coach (Megan) looked at me and said "This is your defining moment. Show us how fast you can go and what you've got left." I find that I generally choke under pressure, but I felt like I really pushed myself, especially on the last 50 (I really wanted to make sure I didn't start out too strong) and was really proud. I wish that I had timed myself and since I'm still not wearing contacts every day, I can't see the pace clock perfectly either.

We finished up the workout with 4-25s: 1st 25 was easy to fast, 2nd was fast to easy, 3rd was easy and 4th was all out. And then it was time for a cool-down. When we got to the end of the workout, I definitely felt like I had had a good workout, but I also felt like because of the pool being crowded, it wasn't as hard as it could have been.

I really like the coach. She's really encouraging and helps me push myself a little bit more than I normally would. I would probably be more likely to hang back a bit and she is really encouraging to make sure we're all right on top of each other and "tickling toes".

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We've Got Hills

Last night I went out to my dad and step-mom's house in New Jersey. They live in a pretty rural area, so I thought I would go for my "long" run of the week this morning. I put long in quotes because at this point, I'm not exactly sure how far long should be. Before I came out here, I had done some research using Google pedometer and found a route that was about 5.7 miles. I figured with some walking at the beginning and end to warm-up and cool-down, that'd I'd end up running about 5 miles total, which seemed like a good starting place given that I haven't really been running a lot recently.

Since I had to relinquish my new orthotics and I can't wear my new running shoes (they sent the inserts for those shoes along with the orthotics to make sure they come back the correct length), I decided that I would wear my old shoes and my old orthotics. I figured that they would be more supportive even if they're not 100% perfect.

I started out at 6:45 this morning after getting the required parental dose of "be careful" warnings. I walked for 5 minutes and went 0.35 miles. Then I started running. It was a little cool when I left their house (about 55) so I was wearing shorts, a short-sleeved shirt and a light jacket. While I was walking I was glad I had the jacket, but as soon as I started running, I was too hot and just tied it around my waist.

Around the time that I reached 2 miles running, I started to get a bit winded and decided to just walk for 20 seconds. I ended up taking 4 breaks of 20 seconds each, so I walked a total of 1:20 during the run. I would say in the minute leading up to each of the breaks, I was feeling bad about being a little tired, but as soon as I started up again I felt much better, so it was probably the right decision to help me push through mentally.

The other thing that isn't so clear when you're using the internet to plan routes is the topography! Or maybe I just wasn't looking at that feature. Having to run up hills isn't really that fun. And, I know you're going to think I'm making this up, but I really didn't get to run down the hills I ran up, I just kept going up, which made the whole thing less fun.

The total distance running was 5.09 miles, which I completed in 55:31 (10:54 pace). I'm not thrilled with this pace, and I know that I could do better than that, but I have to start somewhere, right? I also knew starting out that my goal was going to be to finish the run and not to push myself too hard.

I finished up with a 0.34 mile walk back to the house (which took 6 minutes). All in all, I was out for 66 minutes and went a total distance of 5.78 miles. After I had been running for about 35 minutes, I did get a small cramp in my side, but I knew if I just kept plodding along that I'd get through it. It's always surprising to me how much of this working out stuff is mental and telling yourself "I can do it". Or at least that's how it is for me. And, oddly enough, once I've told myself that I can, I have been able to keep going!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Picking Up Darryl

Last night I met Laura after work for a bit of a road trip to pick her new (to her) bike! We had to drive about an hour and a half outside of the city each way to go check out the bike. Of course, we don't really have a lot of experience knowing what to look for. However, after looking it over and not seeing any obvious damage/issues, and taking for a couple test rides around the parking lot, Laura went ahead and took the plunge and bought the bike (which she has named Darryl).

We had a fun time driving up there, but we both got home pretty late. I got home around 1:00 and then spent a little bit of time doing a couple things around the apartment so I didn't get to sleep until at least 1:30. And after getting up at 5:15 yesterday, that was a very long day.

I had made a reservation at the pool this morning at 6:00, but when my alarm went off this morning, I knew that there was no way that I could get out of bed. I decided to sleep in until 8:00 and forgo the morning workout. I don't think I'll be able to squeeze one in after work today, so instead of being disappointed, I'm just going to say that today is my rest day and I'll go to the gym on Monday night instead of taking a rest then.

Also, I just got an amazing surprise in the mail! Drew bought me the official Terrier team uniform consisting of tri shorts and a tank, so that I would have it for my races (and some practices)! I can't believe it! What a wonderful way to start the day! I am extremely lucky to have so much support.