Friday, February 27, 2015

So yeah, I smashed my 1000 meter time trial today

January on the left, February on the right.
I don't like to admit how slow I actually am in the pool but I had such a great victory today I have to share it in all its glory.

I want to do a 1000 meter time trial on the last Friday of every month to gauge progress, and January's was pretty slow. It was to be expected, as I only started getting to the pool a few times a week in December, and that was off and on at best with the holiday craziness.

January's 1000-meter time was 25:32, a plodding 2:33/100 pace. It left a lot of room for improvement, to say the least.

In February, I added an extra swimming day every other week and started tacking on an extra 400 meters when I could. My "fast" still isn't fast, but my averages are creeping downward, second by second. When I got in the pool today, it all clicked. I could feel myself reaching and pulling and zooming through the water. After a few warmup sets, I was ready to go -- and finished the 1000 meters in 21:27, a full 4:05 faster than last month, at a 2:09/100 pace.

I am feeling pretty good about myself and my improvements. I'll probably never be a speedy swimmer, but the fact that I am seeing better and better times is the encouragement I need to keep doing what I'm doing -- more swimming, more yardage, more speed work, and, best of all, more confidence in the water.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I am so over winter.

I am DONE.

Every year about this time, I wonder to myself, "Why on earth do I choose to live in a place that has single-digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills during the winter?" I mean, sure -- most of my family lives within an hour's drive, the venomous spiders and snakes are few and far between, and if there's ever a natural disaster the fresh water will be plentiful. But other than that...

I have cabin fever (and frostbite and snow blindness, it feels like) and I cannot WAIT to get outside to ride and run and even swim a bit. We have high temperatures in the teens predicted for today and tomorrow, and then, triathlon gods willing, it is supposed to warm up to the 30s through the weekend and into early next week. I have never been so excited to see a high temperature of 32 in the forecast.

The light at the end of the tunnel is our family Florida vacation planned is just longer than two weeks away. I'm bringing my running shoes and swimsuit and I WILL enjoy that sunshine and warmth, because who knows when it will be coming back to Michigan.

In the meantime, I'll be running on the treadmill and riding on the trainer in multiple layers, dreaming of spring.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week in review February 16-22 -- Main workouts done, but not much else

Bike, bike and bike some more.
Well, it wasn't a BAD week. The most important thing was that I nailed all my swim, bike and run workouts, even if the running was a little on the lighter side. It was another week with six hours on the bike trainer and gains in the pool, so that's good news overall.

My week shook out to:

Swim: Twice this week, both in the pool, for about 2 hours and 20 minutes total. I'm not lightning fast in the pool, but I was able to take a few seconds off my usual 100 meter leave interval and my overall 100 meter average was a few seconds faster. So while my individual times are nothing to write home about, my average times are consistently inching downward. I'll take it.

Bike: Four times this week, all on the trainer, for 6 hours total. This week all of my shorter rides were done to music and I tried to keep a higher-than-usual cadence to the beat, rather than zone out to yet another Netflix series (which is exactly what I did on my longer ride... no judgements, please). I felt sweatier and my legs were a bit more tired than normal, so that's good. We'll have to wait and see how I do on the roads to tell if this is helping or not.

Run: 26 miles this week, all on the treadmill, because it was YET ANOTHER freezing week of crazy cold wind chills. Schools were closed Thursday, Friday and today because of the cold. My runs worked out to two easy, one MMD and one LSD. I got into my usual Friday evening funk and just couldn't bring myself to do anything, let alone run. My Saturday easy run plans got superseded for an emergency shopping trip (ha) to prepare for my sister's wedding. It was actually supposed to be relatively warm on Saturday, but it never did get as warm as was predicted, so I don't feel that badly about missing the chance to run outside.

Weights: One video for just under an hour.

Plyo: One 20-minute session after lifting weights.

Yoga: Nothing this week.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week.

Total: Almost 14 hours, a pretty good week for me.

Even though I could have gotten a couple more runs done this week, the 26 miles I logged is still WAY above my usual for this time of year. I'm at 93 miles for the month which is already double what I logged last February. So, I can't be too mad at myself.

I would have liked to get in a few more "other" workouts, but it just didn't happen this week. I had to do some schedule shuffling, so I prioritized and put the focus on what was key.

Another week down, another week ahead. Back to the grind.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back-to-back long ride and long run

I've gone through a LOT of shows on the treadmill this winter.
Life got in the way this weekend.

My mom and I went on a last-minute shopping trip to see if we could find dresses for my sister's wedding coming up -- she was successful, I wasn't -- and the trip I thought would take 3-4 hours ended up closer to 7. That resulted in an exhausted me coming home late and an unscheduled day off from training.

But where there's a will, there's a way. Today, after my husband and I finished running our errands and enjoying a cup of coffee at a shop we haven't been to in a while, I hopped on the bike trainer and pedaled, and pedaled, and pedaled. After some refueling, I hopped on the treadmill and ran, and ran, and ran. All told it was 2 hours on the trainer and 10 miles on the treadmill. And I was done in time to make dinner at a decent hour.

Ideal? No. Did I make the best of the time I had? I'd like to think so. Life isn't always going to fit around my training schedule, and from time to time I'll need to adapt. And sometimes that means a LOT of Arrested Development on the trainer and treadmill.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

About that running time trial

I had to dig, but I found them!
First, a confession: I've never actually raced an open 5K or 10K.

I've done a few fun runs here and there, and of course I've done them at the end of a triathlon, but that's it. Same for a half-marathon: I've done 13, if you count six marathons and the last leg of a 70.3, but I've never run one by itself.

As my mind wandered on the treadmill yesterday, I thought about my next scheduled monthly 1000-meter time trial in the pool. And then I thought, "I should be doing 5K and 10K running time trials, too."

And then I thought, "... What the heck are my PRs?"

I had to go digging, but looking at all the sprint tris that ended in a 5K, my best time is 25:04; of my two Olympic tris, my faster 10K was my first, 52:03. Both are respectable times, but that :0X for both kills me. I'd love to run a 24:59 5K or even go for a 7:59 pace. Maybe someday I could go for a sub-50 10K.

But first, alas, I have a LOT of speed work to do. A quick look at my Daily Mile logs show that I've only had three sub-9-minute paced runs in the past YEAR. Taking a full minute off each mile is going to hurt. And/or take a lot of work. And/or take a lot of time.

Can I do it? We'll see. But now I have something to work toward. And hopefully after I do those time trials, I'll have an idea of how much work it will take to get me there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week in review February 9-15 -- swim, bike, run, freeze

Another decent week.
There was nothing spectacular about this week except that it was the first time in a while I made it to the pool three times. I started off strong and kind of tapered with Valentine's Day and general weekend laziness relaxation, but I still put in a good showing.

Swim: Three times this week, all in the pool, for about 3.5 hours total. I felt good all three times and have been swimming some decent times, so I'm happy with my progress so far.

Bike: Three times this week, all on the trainer, for about 4.75 hours total. Nothing special here, just steady pedaling. I'm really looking forward to taking my bike back on the road.

Run: 27 miles this week, all on the treadmill, because it was another freezing cold week of wind chills hitting as low as -28. No, thanks. It worked out to be four runs: one easy, one MMD, one speed and one LSD. I made the medium-distance run a wee bit faster and I increased the speed on my LSD a wee bit every few miles. Both felt fine.

Weights: One heavy/body session for about an hour.

Plyo: One 20-minute session after lifting weights.

Yoga: One 30-minute session this week.

Pre-hab: One round this week. This makes two for the month so far, which is the most I've done in a while -- ha!

Total: About 15.5 hours, a good week for me.

This week was a good balance of training, relaxing, and spending time with my husband for Valentine's Day. Yeah, I could have finished a bit stronger, but I feel good about the downtime, too. 

Also worth nothing about this week was that the time I spent swimming, biking and running was closer to equal than other weeks. I liked the extra time in the pool but I'm also looking forward to only swimming twice this week. I'll go back and forth between an extra bike and an extra swim, see how I feel, and re-evaluate.

So far, so good. On to the next week.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three times a swimmer

I found this old, amazing pic of me. My form is a bit better these days. =)
One of my February goals was to add an extra day of biking and swimming on alternate weeks. I am happy to say that as of this morning, I have made it to the pool three times this week. Woo-hoo! I haven't made it to the pool three times in a week since I was in the thick of 70.3 training last July, and it feels good to going more often again.

As an added bonus, I've been taking advantage of a few extra minutes in the water, hitting the 2800 meter mark the last four times I've been. I know this wouldn't be a big deal for you serious swimmers, but it is for me. Go, me!

2800 meters three times this week is a total of 8400 meters. I had to look up the last time I swam that much in a week, since last summer I was still in the 2000-2200 range with the occasional 2400 session. I swam about 8600 meters the week of Independence Day last week, with two trips to the pool, one trip to the lake on my day off, and then a race of an open water mile followed by an Aquathon that Sunday. I only came close one other time, later that month when I was in peak 70.3 training, with 8300 meters in three trips to the pool and one trip to the lake.

I have a long way to go before I become a "real" swimmer, but these increased distances and decreased times are good for the ego -- not to mention being five months ahead of where I was last year. Like anything else, I just keep chugging away.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy birthday to me

I'm 1 year old.
I got to thinking last night: "Wasn't it about this time last year that I registered for this blog?" I took a look back at the archives, and sure enough, it was a year ago today that I published my first post.

It's been quite a year. I ran a 10K for fun with my husband, I completed my second Olympic-distance triathlon, I had monster PRs at both my open-water mile and run-swim-run Aquathon, COMPLETED MY FIRST 70.3, ran my sixth marathon, and managed to squeak out 1,000 running miles before the calendar turned over to 2015.

I had ups and downs, beautiful sunrise runs and blisters, bike PRs and chain grease tattoos. I grew a lot and, most importantly, I had a lot of fun.

Let's see where the next year takes me.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week in review 2-8 February -- Biking like a maniac and some other stuff, too

Decent numbers across the board.
Fully 60% of my training time this week was spent biking or running.
It was a good training week. I added another session on the bike, was consistent with my running, and got some weights, yoga and even pre-hab in there, too. So, a bit of everything.

Swim: Twice this week, both in the pool, for about 2 and a quarter hours total. And one of those was a better-than-average session, so I'm happy.

Bike: I tried something different this week and added another training session for four sessions total. I know this is not groundbreaking for all you serious bikers out there, but I've been pretty steady on the bike three times a week for forever. The good news is, I didn't feel too sore or tired on the second day in a row. Plus, it was an extra hour overall, for 6 hours total, which may be the most I've ever spent on the trainer in a week.

Run: 30 miles this week in about 5 hours: three easy, one MMD, and one LSD. That included one brisk but wonderful run outside, followed by the next day by freezing rain. Puke. However, a 30-mile week is nothing to sneeze at in the off-season.

Yoga: Two 30-minute sessions this week for 1.5 hours total.

Weights: One heavy/body session and one weights video for about 2 hours total.

Plyo: Two 20-minute session after each of my weights sessions. It might be time to invest in a plyo box -- jumping up and down one step is getting to be easy, but jumping up and down two steps puts my klutzy life in danger.

Pre-hab: One round this week. So, at least I got one in this month! Ha!

Total: Almost 18.5 hours, which is an excellent week, especially for the off-season.

I'm very happy with how this past week shook out. This coming week, I'm going to try to swim three times instead of biking that extra time. Sadly, it's supposed to be freezing cold again all week, so I'm seeing more treadmill time in my future. I'm going to need another show to watch soon!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Running outside!

39 degrees! Almost tropical!
Woo-hoo! It actually got to a decent temperature today and I took advantage. I ran a few easy miles outside.

I stuck to an area that I knew would be plowed, and I only had to shuffle through a bit of snow. The air was crisp, the sun was shining, and it was good to be alive.

I am still a chicken about cold temps so I made sure to bundle up well. But still, it was a great run. Of course, it's supposed to rain and snow all day tomorrow. Boo!

To flip or not to flip

I watched this video a bunch and it actually made sense (for once).
I've never been big on flip turns. I had to take swimming for a semester in high school, and I got an A- in the class because I couldn't master them. As I got more into triathlon over the past few years I kind of blew them off. "I don't do flip turns in the lake, so why should I bother to learn them in the pool?" I thought.

But, if I'm being honest with myself, learning flip turns is probably the next step to becoming a better, more efficient swimmer. Serendipitously, I got an email with a link to a video explaining how to do them the night before my next trip to the pool, so I watched it and vowed to give it at least a quick try.

I had a great swim yesterday -- I had a bit of extra time so I did an extra 400 meters, my times were better than they have been in months, etc. I decided to try to keep my good luck going as far as possible and took a few minutes to practice flipping. I started out with a few somersaults in chest-deep water. Then I tried closer and closer to the wall. I had a hard time flipping close enough to the wall that I could actually push off, but I was able to touch once or twice. Nothing like a real turn, but I could tell I was getting it.

I'll keep chugging away. I just hope I get the hang of them before open water swimming season!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I have no more training to do...

I live by my Google calendar.
... at the moment.

I don't think this has ever happened before. I did my pre-hab yesterday, I did a full hour of yoga today, and I don't do another weights workout until tomorrow. (OK, probably Saturday.) Swim, bike and run are all on schedule.

Pre-hab AND yoga done for the time being? Wow!

And who am I fooling -- I'm not going to clean the bathroom at 9 p.m. tonight. That's a placeholder that keeps getting moved to the next day. And the next. And the next...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January in review and looking forward to February

My valentines are swimming, biking and running. =)
Another month over. Training-wise, I think my January went pretty well other than getting sick for a few days. Let's take a look:

Swim goal: Get to the pool twice a week.
Swim actual: I managed six swims, so closer to 1.5 times per week. I lost a couple to being sick and another one to schedule shuffling.

Bike goal: Get on the trainer three times a week.
Bike actual: I managed 13 trainer rides, for a total of a whopping 20 hours! I think I only missed one training ride to a sick day. Success!

Run goal: Break 100 miles.
Run actual: Another success! I logged 105 miles for January.

Weights goal: Six times.
Weights actual: I did five sessions, three weights videos and two heavy weight/body weight sessions. Eh, not bad. I'll take it. I also did plyo moves after every session.

Yoga goal: Six times.
Yoga actual: Five times. I have been bad about getting my yoga in lately, so I'll take it!

Pre-hab goal: Six times.
Pre-hab actual: Twice, both the week I was sick. I'm going to keep trying to make this a priority until it sticks!

Weight goal: Lose three pounds.
Weight actual: I fluctuated up and down this month but ended 1.6 pounds lighter than what I started. Sigh. I was hoping for a bigger loss.

Other goal: Swim, bike and run more this January than I did last January.
Other actual: Success! Last year I swam 5 times, and this year I made it to the pool 6 times. Last year I got on the trainer 10 times, and this year was 18. And last year I ran 21 miles. Yeah, I'd say 105 is an improvement.

OK. So what's the plan for February?

I'm going to try adding a few more days of swimming and biking. During the season, I swim 3-4 times a week, but I almost always ride only 3 days a week. So this month, I'm going to try to add a day of each every other week. So this week I'll swim twice and ride 4 times; next week I'll add one more swim day to do each 3 times. I'll try it for a month and then reevaluate.

I want to hit 100 miles for running again. It may take some finagling of the day of my last long run of the month, considering we only have 28 days. But if I am consistent with my shorter runs, I think I can pull it off.

I want to stay on my schedule of yoga, weights and pre-hab, seriously with the pre-hab this time.

And I want to lose those three damn pounds!

I've got my work cut out for me, sure. But I think I can build off January's success for a strong February!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week in review Jan. 26-Feb. 1 -- In a funk, in the snow

Some decent training across the board.
Well, this past week wasn't bad. I was expecting worse, at least.

I'm not sure if it's the winter blahs, or cabin fever, or just personal issues weighing on me, but I got into a funk later in the week. On Thursday, I did my trainer ride and it made me so tired I was useless the rest of the day. I deliberately try to do speed runs Friday afternoons because I tend to get depressed on Fridays -- another week gone and the same ol' rat race, perhaps? -- and the accomplishment helps my mood. On Saturday and Sunday, it took me literally HOURS to psych myself up for my long trainer ride and run, and that was the only thing I accomplished either day.

Maybe I just need a goal. I hate signing up for races this time of year, because I'm not one to get up early in sub-zero temperatures just so I can earn a t-shirt. I'm eyeing a few races in April, but that seems SOOOOO far away. Or, I'll just move to Hawaii. I'm sure my husband won't mind.

Swim: Twice this week, both in the pool, for about 2 and a quarter hours total.

Bike: Three times this week for two shorter and one longer session, all on the trainer, for 5 hours total. I added a few minutes here and there to make it 5 even. Realistically, I know I should be riding more times during the week instead of longer, but ugh. There's a foot of snow outside and there's only so much trainer time I can handle.

Run: A surprising 28 miles this week in about 4.5 hours. That breaks down to four runs: one easy, one MMD, one speed and one LSD.

I tried something different for my speed run this week: I warmed up for a mile at 6.0 mph, then tried to bump it up 0.2 mph every half mile. So, the next mile was 6.2 and 6.4, and the next was 6.6 and 6.8 (an 8:49 minute mile pace). I would have liked to keep going, but I was having a bit of difficulty sustaining this as it was, so I took a half-mile breather at 6.0, then did another 1.5 at 6.6, 6.8 and 7.0 (8:34 pace) before cooling down for another mile at 6.0. When I'm used to doing quarter-mile sprints, a half mile is a LOOOONG time. However, now I have something to work toward.

Yoga: Two 30-minute sessions this week for 1 hour total.

Weights: One weights video of about 1 hour.

Plyo: One 20-minute session after my weights.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week. Sad face.

Total: Just more than 14 hours, breaking down to about a third running, about a third biking, and the other third doing swimming and other. I think that's about where I want to be this time of year.

Realistically, I know winter won't last forever, so I have to keep chugging away until I can get back outside. Before I know it, I'll be complaining about how hot it is.