Monday, April 27, 2015

Week in review April 20-26: Just the basics

Just your basic swim, bike and run.
Not a bad week. I didn't have time for anything other than swim, bike or run, but I did put in a decent showing in each. I could have squeezed in some lifting or yoga Sunday night, but it was my mom's birthday. And if the birthday girl wants to go to the casino, you go to the casino.

Swim: Two sessions in the pool for 3,500 yards each, for 2 hours and 40 minutes total. Until it warms up enough to swim in the lake on the weekend, I don't know that I'll be able to do much more in the water.

Bike: Four sessions total, three on the trainer and one 35-mile road ride, for about 5 hours, 38 minutes total. This week's road ride was much chillier, but with a few extra layers I was good to go. The best way to train for riding on the road is riding on the road, right?

Run: Five runs, three on the treadmill (we had a cold snap earlier in the week that included snow -- yuck!) and two on the road, for 33.25 miles in about 5 hours, 10 minutes. That included my first speed run of the year where I saw miles beginning with 7, and a longish run of 12.25 before the aforementioned casino-hopping.

Other: Nothing this week. Between work and life I just had to prioritize.

I'm really hoping I can continue to ride my bike outside at least once a week from here on in. My bike fitness seems to be ever-so-slightly better than this time last year, which likely is a result of me adding in an extra day on the bike trainer and focusing on cadence.

The weather is supposed to warm up this week, but probably not long enough to make my usual swimming hole a more acceptable temperature. I could find a different pool to swim in Saturday or Sunday evenings, but I do want to see my husband occasionally. If I can make it work, great, but that's not going to be my priority.

And I am really happy with how my run has come along this season already. This has to be because I am simply running MORE. I kept a regular schedule all winter long, with 100+ mile months every month since December, and have been consistently hitting 25+ and even 30+ weeks since I recovered from my last marathon.

On to another week of putting the pieces in place!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Speed run suffering

This is the fastest I've ever run two miles since I started logging.
Look at those mile split times. LOOK AT THEM. Two in a row that start with a 7.

I had to go back to my logs to find the last time I've run two sub-8:00 miles: August of 2012. That summer was the last time I was doing any consistent training in the sub-8:00 pace range, when I was about to set what was then my marathon PR by 13 minutes.

The second mile gets an asterisk since I did have to stop to wait for a traffic light, but that 7:58, at the very least, was a hard-earned mile. Not bad for a run that I started out thinking, "I'll try descending my miles and see what happens."

If nothing else, it's reassuring to know that I can rock some fast (for me) miles this early in the season. I feel like I've got a good base as I enter racing season.

Last night's run had a bonus victory:
100. Again.
I passed the 100-mile mark, making April the fifth month in a row and the ninth out of the past 10 where I've hit 100 running miles. Not too shabby.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Deep thought Thursday

I really don't care for trite pseudo-inspirational messages but I came across this one the other day and it has stuck with me:

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” -Stephen McCranie

I'll try to remember this as I'm being lapped YET AGAIN by the old guys in the lane next to me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Early to bed; very, very early to rise

Zero dark thirty.
I mentioned in last week’s review that I have been getting up a few days a week at 4:40 a.m. Yes, it’s true. And yes, I am at least a little crazy for doing so.

I now start my work day as early as I ever have in my professional career and I like doing at least some of my training before I head to the office. Plus, other people annoy me more than getting up early does. In order to placate my introverted tendencies, I like to hit the pool at a time when fewer people are likely to be there.

Since swimming smack-dab in the middle of the day isn’t really an option my boss would appreciate, I try to be at the pool right as the lifeguard is opening the doors shortly after 5:30 a.m. Throw in a quick morning routine and my daily commute and bam, we’re at a 4:40 a.m. wake-up time.

No, it’s not fun. No, I don’t really enjoy it. Yes, my bed is disproportionately warm and comfortable at that hour. But you do what you gotta do. I want to improve in the water and the only way to do that is to spend more time in the water training.

Sadly, I don’t have any “secret” get-up-early tricks to share. I’ve always been something of an early riser and have used the snooze button maybe three times in my life. In fact, I usually wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off, no matter when it’s set – these last few mornings I was awake at about 4:35 a.m.

What does help is getting everything ready the night before. The other night, for example, I cooked that day's dinner and the next day's breakfast and lunch all at the same time. I was an egg-frying, chicken-grilling, veggie-chopping maniac.

I get my food bag, my work bag, and my swimming bag (and my running bag, if I’m hitting the running path after work) ready to go and in a pile in the living room. After you do it a few times, it becomes habit -- I have learned the hard way to double-check I have MATCHING work shoes -- and you’re less likely to forget something important. Plus, I’m pretty sure waking up your spouse because you are frantically searching for clean socks at that hour is grounds for divorce.

I should clarify one thing: For the next eight weeks, I won't be getting up at 4:40 a.m. on Mondays. I'm a Game of Thrones fan and recently a Silicon Valley fan, too. I'm not willing to function on 6 hours of sleep if I can help it, and those shows are just too good. Four days a week after an early bedtime is enough of a challenge for me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week in review April 13-19: Back in the saddle, literally

A decent week that included some outdoor biking time.
Hey hey! I got a decent week under my (race) belt for the first time in a while. I didn't do as much "other" as I would have liked, but I got decent training in for all three disciplines.

Swim: Twice in the pool for 3500 yards each time, for a total of 7000 yards in about 2 hours, 45 minutes. I suspect there will be a bit of a "pace adjustment curve" as I make the transition from meters to yards. Since I have to get up at 4:40 a.m. (yes, a.m.) to hit the pool with enough time to swim and get ready for work, I'm counting swimming twice a victory.

Bike: Four times, three on the trainer and one 36-mile road ride, for a total of just more than 6 hours. Hooray!

Run: Four times, all on the road (double hooray!), for 30.5 miles in 4 hours, 48 minutes. Triple hooray -- another 30+ mile week! And it feels good.

Yoga: One self-guided 30-minute session that was sorely (heh) needed because I can barely move my hips into pigeon.

Weights/plyo: Nothing this week.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week.

Total total: Eleven sessions in about 14 hours, 11 minutes. Not shabby at all.

I feel like I am getting back into a training routine, and it feels good. Of course, I'd like more of everything -- more time to bike outside, more running, more swimming, more time for pre-hab, etc. etc. etc. -- but where I'm at now is a good place to settle in for a while.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A picture-perfect day for an outside ride

36 miles in the fresh air and sunshine.
It was a great day for a bike ride today. I filled my bottles, pumped my tires, finally took off the sticker from my 70.3 in August, and headed out.

I was a bit wobbly at first but completed 36 miles at a decent-for-me pace. I looked in my logs, and it was a full 0.7 mph faster than the first time I hit this route last year. Baby steps.

I even remembered how to drink without crashing and descended a couple of hills without freaking out, although I'm still scared to ride in aero. Again... baby steps.

Overall, just a great day to be alive, outside and pedaling. Yay cycling!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Going from meters to yards

The pool feels only slightly larger than this one.
Well! I finally made it back to the pool yesterday morning. And when I say "back" to the pool, I really mean that I tried a new-to-me pool with a more accommodating schedule and location.

The caveat is it's a 25-YARD pool, where the pool I've swum in almost exclusively since I started taking lessons four years ago is a 25-METER pool. (I know, they're few and far between, but this one was built in the last few years.)

At first, I was excited to try it out. "All right, I'll finally have some decent paces!" Well, not really. I'm still slow. Maybe even more so, since I'm turning more often. I did notice that I saw a slight time improvement in my longer sets.

Then, I realized that I was going to really have to pay attention to when I reached the end of the pool. I kept smashing my hand into the wall! Plus, I am afraid to try to flip-turn since there is a weird ledge at the bottom. I am a giant klutz so the potential of that ending badly is high. I've crashed my head into the wall more than once doing backstroke.

On my drive over I realized that my running and swimming has poisoned me against the Imperial system and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how many yards would equal my typical workout in meters. Thank goodness for my phone converter app.

Side note: My new pool is WARM. Like, grossly so. For me, a cold-weather chicken, to say that a pool is warm is a big deal. Another thing I'll have to get used to.

I'll miss my meters, but the important thing right now is that I'm making time to get in the water and swim. And learning how to do math while doing laps, apparently.