Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week in review March 23-29 -- Yeah, yeah. I know I'm late.

Swim, bike, run, repeat.
"Hit your key workouts but blow off everything else" seems to be my theme lately. I guess it's better than the other way around, but that means I've been spending a lot of time swimming, biking and running and that's about it.

Swim: Three times, all in the pool, 3200 meters at a time, for a total 9600 meters in just more than than 4 hours. That ties for the most I've ever swum in a week. EVER. I'm so close to breaking that 10,000 meter weekly total!

Bike: Four times, all on the trainer, for 6 hours total. That works out to three shorter rides and one 2-hour ride.

Run: Five times, four on the treadmill and one outside, for a total of a whopping 34 miles in about 5 hours, 20 minutes. 34 miles is the most I've run in one week since DECEMBER. And it feels good! Running outside more often isn't bothering my knee, so I think it might be time to start thinking about sending our home treadmill to that big trash heap in the sky.

34 miles makes for my best week since December.
Weights/plyo: One weights video of just less than an hour followed by plyo moves.

Yoga: Nothing this week. Ugh.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week. Double ugh.

Total: 14 workouts in 16 hours, 41 minutes. A great week for me, considering I've only hit 16 hours a few other times this year.

I had a few life-getting-in-the-way moments, but this week's totals really come down to not making my "other" a priority. I don't think I'm training enough to start giving up swim/bike/run for weights/yoga/pre-hab quite yet. Right now I think it's more important to keep chugging away at that base.

I'll warn you now that this coming week isn't going to be impressive. I mentioned that my work schedule was changing and boy, has it ever. Today I left at 7:30 a.m. and didn't get home until 7 p.m. I expect it to settle down soon, but dang. Hopefully, this base I'm chugging away at will carry me through.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pick your poison

 or ?

It was quite an interesting long run today. I really didn't feel like getting on the treadmill -- it's been kind of jumpy, like the belt lags for half a second and then speeds up, which has been bothering my knee that doesn't have any cartilage left anyway.

But I also didn't feel like dealing with 21 mph winds with gusts up to 34 mph. What to do? In the end, my desire to be out in the fresh air and sunshine won out. A few layers later and I was enjoying a windy run as much as as I could.

I did laps in a route around my neighborhood, which made it interesting. Running north and east was fine. Running south and west was another story. The wind was something else -- I felt it pushing me back and even pushing my legs to the side as they were in the air. I debated just running north as far as I could and calling for a ride home. There was one major gust that made me a bit nervous and start looking around for tornadoes.

After 12 miles, I made it home safely, a bit blown around but no worse for the wear. My lab mix, remembering that I took her out at the end of a run a few weeks ago, was thrilled because obviously me coming home wearing running clothes means a run for her! I was too tired to really run any more by then, but she pulled me sled dog-style down the block so insistently that I gave in and jogged around the block with her until she pooped. Next time I'll come home a mile early and take her out with me for a bit.

Even though it was a bit windy, a long run out in the sun and fresh air is not a bad way to end the week.

Friday, March 27, 2015

March's 1000-meter time trial

January, February, and March 1000-meter time trials.
I'm calling it a push.

I was thrilled with the improvement from January to February -- dropping a full four minutes to go from a 2:33/100 pace to a 2:09/100 pace -- considering I was just regularly getting back in the pool, adding meters here and there, adding an extra day here and there, etc.  I was hoping for more of that awesome improvement from February to March, but I'm not disappointed to see that I slowed down by 26 seconds, which works out to a mere 0:02 per 100. I mean, that's only half a second slower per length.

I've been swimming more than ever this past month, but I was on vacation last week and didn't even look at my suit. Did that affect me? Probably. Would I have given up vacation to get those 2 seconds back? Heck, no!

All in all, I'm happy with the results. If nothing else, I'm consistent, and my work is holding me at a steady pace in the water.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

100 running miles and a new treadmill show

I hit 100 running miles today doing my easy treadmill run. Woo! That means for 8 out of the last 9 months, I've logged more than 100 running miles. And I still have five running days to go yet in March!

Also during my run today, I finished Arrested Development. Good-bye, Bluth family. I enjoyed the first three seasons but only watched the fourth because I was already committed. I just didn't think season four was as good or as funny. But with the end of every show comes another show, and I've decided to start on...

I wanted something quick and enjoyable before I took on another multi-season show commitment, and I'd heard this was funny. Plus, I almost fell off the treadmill laughing when I realized one of the geeks was Gilfoyle from Silicon Valley. There are so many young faces!

Ideally, of course, I'd never have to run on the treadmill again because I'd be outside every day in perfect weather, but, alas, we're supposed to get more snow and cold temperatures tomorrow. Barf.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back in the saddle -- and tired, sore and crabby

Lots of training these past few days.
I hit the ground running this week to take advantage of the last bit of free time I'll have during the day before my new work schedule kicks in next week.

Sunday: Long treadmill run. I miss Florida weather.

Monday: Trainer ride followed by a swim.

Today: Long day -- trainer ride, followed by a weights video, followed by a short/easy run, followed by my plyo moves. Whew!

As a result, I'm tired, sore, hungry, and generally crabby. Hitting the bike twice in two days after a week off has left my quads pretty tender. And I probably shouldn't have swum a full 3200 meters yesterday, but I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Lord only knows how I'll feel tomorrow after the muscle soreness from my first weights workout in two weeks kicks in.

I've also don't think I've been eating enough. Sweets don't even sound good to me after mainlining ice cream all last week, so I've been fueling with bananas, sweet potatoes and orange juice in addition to my regular meat-and-vegetable meals. I was playing the blood sugar dance before I finally got to eat dinner tonight, and that's never a good idea.

But, I love doing all this work, even if I'm tired and sore as a result. And I'm hopeful all this hard work will pay off come race time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week in review March 16-22 -- Run, baby, run

Welp, I knew that being on vacation would -- enjoyably so -- get in the way of my training schedule, but it's still funny to see the overall numbers of my week. I got in a few wonderfully hot runs while I was in Florida but nothing else.

Swim: Nothing this week.

Bike: Nothing this week.

Run: Four times, three outside in Florida and one on the treadmill back home, for 26.5 miles total in just less than 4.25 hours. That works out to three easy-ish runs and a 10-mile LSD.

Weights/plyo: Nothing this week.

Yoga: Nothing this week.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week.

Total: Just those 4.25 hours of running.

My work schedule is going to take a drastic change next week so I need to get as much training in this week as I can. And that includes getting to the pool and on the bike trainer!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hot and humid vacation runs

Nothing like humidity in the 90s before sunrise.
I'm at the airport waiting for my flight home to board -- sad face.

I ate a ridiculous amount of ice cream and loafed around quite a bit this vacation, but I did manage to go for three runs -- two of 5.25 miles and one 6-miler. All three times, I faced the dilemma: Do I run when it's humid and cool, or hot but less humid?

My first run was when it was hot and less humid. Of course it was hot, but I felt fine and managed a 9:25 pace -- not too shabby for me. The second run was the day of my sister's wedding, so it was morning or nothing. I don't mind running in the heat, but this was borderline miserable. I was soaking wet instantly and never really got into a groove. I was about 15 seconds per mile slower. I learned my lesson for my third run and headed out in the heat but low humidity again and managed a 9:26 pace for the full 6 miles, pretty darn good for me this early in the season.

Of course, I didn't swim, or bike, or do my weights video, or do yoga, but it was an amazing vacation and the fact that I got a few hot runs in was just icing on the cake.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Week in review March 9-15: An even balance

A pretty even split.
I knew I'd be pressed for time this week, so I focused on hitting my main workouts. If I got anything else done, I'd consider it a bonus. Considering all that, it turned out to be a pretty darn good week.

Swim: Three times, all in the pool, 3200 meters at a time. This means this week's 9600 meters in just less than 4 hours is the most I've ever swum in a week. EVER.

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 4 hours and 40 minutes. One of those was an early-morning Saturday session before I headed out of town.

Run: Four times, all outside, for 24.5 miles total in just less than 4 hours. That works out to two easy runs, an MMD, and a speed run. I didn't get to my long run this weekend because of vacation.

Weights/plyo: One heavy/body weights session of about an hour followed by plyo moves.

Yoga: Nothing this week.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week.

Total: 12 workouts in just less than 14 hours.

It's about what I expected and I'm happy with how it turned out. It's interesting to me that swim, bike, and run time were all so similar, and I actually swam more minutes than I ran. I don't think that's ever happened before. And, it's good to see some speed in the water and on the run. As for the bike, well, I just have to keep working at it.

I'm building that base, one swim, bike, and run at a time.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's in the 80s and humid...

Shorts and a tank top! YES!
I'm on vacation in the Sunshine State, and today I went for a 5-miler around the island. It was great! Hot, but great. I even managed a surprisingly fast pace considering the heat and humidity.

In case I don't post for a bit, enjoy this pic of me sweating to death after my run... and loving every second of it. =)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Just get it done.

It was an early morning.
Two hours on the bike by 8:15 a.m. On a Saturday.

Right now, I'm in an airport bar, excited to get going on my vacation. Woo hoo! But, I really wanted to get in one last bike ride before I left, since I likely won't have a chance to ride this week.

I knew I'd be running around like a maniac today -- and I was, with last-minute cleaning and errands -- so I got up early and got it done. It wasn't anything special, but it was still two solid hours of pedaling.

It felt good to start off my day with a nice workout, and now I can go on vacation with even less guilt!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Take a deep breath and keep going

I found this in the depths of my purse.
I'm not really one for trite "inspirational" messages. I don't know what an eagle flying against a mountain backdrop has to do with teamwork. But cleaning out my purse yesterday, I found this scribbled on the back of a receipt: "Be worthy of the graces given to you today." I liked it enough the first time to write it down, and for some reason it stuck with me yesterday.

Not long after, I headed out for a run in the brisk sunshine. I ran through a neighborhood and at one point there was a car blocking the sidewalk. I kind of grumbled to myself until I got closer and saw that the reason they were blocking the sidewalk was because the little old lady getting out of the car was using a cane and couldn't get up the curb. Oh man, I felt horrible when I realized that! The person with her even called out a "Sorry!" but I just smiled, waved and told them not to worry.

A mile or two later, I had to pee. Badly. I had just gone before I'd left the house, so it had come out of nowhere. I debated popping into a friend's house, but no one who lived nearby was a runner, so I wasn't sure they'd understand. Finally I had to go badly enough that I headed back home, annoyed. However, I decided to take my lab mix out with me for the last 1.1 miles to make it an even 5, and she had a blast and was tired for the rest of the day. Something that started out as a major annoyance ended up being a good thing.

Today I hit the pool. I knew I was in for it when my swim cap ripped in two pieces while putting it on. Of course, today was the only day I had a different bag, one without an extra cap. I decided to just swim without one. I started off feeling great and swimming decent paces for me. I wanted to do 20 x 100 fast for my main set, and the first half was just blaaaaaaah. I was getting pretty discouraged and not picking up any speed. After a drink break I tried again and noticed that I was going a bit faster for the next two. Something just clicked and my 100s for the second 10 were way faster -- I did the averages and the last 10 were a full 11 seconds faster on average than the first 10. Eleven seconds! I don't know what happened, but had I given up when my swim cap ripped or when the first 10 weren't going so great, I would have never done so well on the second half.

I need to squeeze in a run today while the weather is still gorgeous. Who knows what graces I will encounter.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blisters and puddles: A running saga

Tools of the trade.
The forecast called for a high temperature of 54 today and I was looking forward to my 8-miler all day. I had some errands to run earlier, and since the snow was melting and creating puddles everywhere, I decided to wear my beat-up rain boots.

Bad idea.

By the time I got to where I was going, I could barely walk because of the blisters forming on my heels. When I finally got back home, I inspected the damage -- a hot spot on my right heel, and a full-on blister on my left.

This was NOT happening. I was going to run today, come hell, high water or some dumb blisters!

I came up with a plan. First was to perform minor surgery to drain the blister. Then I added bandaids and medical tape to cover the area. I gave my foot a test walk taking the dogs out, and it was still painful enough that it was affecting my walking. Time for Plan B.

I dug up some old moleskin from my dancing days and layered that on top of the bandaids and tape. Then I dug out some thin nylon sock liners. I finished it off with the thickest running socks I own, crossed my fingers, and slid into my running shoes.

It was tender, but I could tell the shoes weren't rubbing on my blister. I ran up and down the hallway for a minute (much to the amusement of my dogs) and decided to give it a go, promising my husband to turn around if the pain got too bad.

I set off feeling OK, but not in any real pain. The sun was shining! It was warm! Spring is coming! I was out running! Hooray! Then, at 0.1 miles into my run, I misjudged a puddle. What I thought was a thin layer of water on the sidewalk turned out to be deep enough to submerge my entire right foot. I seriously almost started screaming at that point.

But I kept going, and my foot dried out well enough by the next mile or so. Verdict: 8 miles done with a bit of tenderness but no real pain and, eventually, two dry feet. Score!

Lessons learned: Throw out the crappy rain boots. Never trust a puddle. And a warm, sunshiney spring day will make your run a million times better, so get out and enjoy it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week in review March 2-8: An outside run and lots of bike time

Lots of biking, comparatively.
A pretty good week. I would have liked to run more, and sadly I didn't do a weights workout for the first time in months. But overall, it was still pretty well-rounded.

Swim: Twice, including one 3200-meter session, which is tied for my longest ever. 6000 meters all together in about 2.5 hours.

Bike: Four times, all on the trainer, for 6 hours.

Run: Three times, including a long run OUTSIDE, for 26 miles total in just longer than 4 hours. That works out to one MMD, one amazing speed workout, and one LSD. I admit that the main reason I did a 12-miler Sunday instead of my usual 10 was so that my weekly total would be 26 miles. Ha!

Weights/plyo: Nothing this week. It's the first week since early December that I didn't do at least one weights workout. It just didn't come together this week.

Yoga: Two 30-minute sessions for a total of 1 hour. This was sorely (heh) needed -- my hips and back are super tight.

Pre-hab: One round for 1 hour.

Total: 12 workouts in about 14.75 hours.

I'm not making excuses, but I did have a couple of instances where life got in the way this week. I got some BIG news Tuesday (I'm not quite ready to discuss it yet, but it's ultimately GOOD) which left me kind of rattled for the rest of the day until I had a dinner party that took several hours. Wednesday I had to shuffle my schedule for a hair appointment, and by the time I found out it was being moved it was too late to squeeze in a run. I had strong training days Thursday and Friday, but Saturday laziness got the best of me for most of the day. I did enjoy the time off, and it was nice to relax a bit, so not all is lost.

I'm in Florida next week and while I do hope to get some running and maybe swimming in while I'm there, the main focus of the week will be relaxing and having fun. So, I need to hit at least my key workouts this week so I can head on vacation with a clear conscience.

Plus, it's supposed to be great weather, and I plan on taking advantage of the chance for sunny and warm afternoon runs! Yay!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Get your butt outside

Oh, Garmin, how I've missed you.
Twelve glorious, sunny, brisk, puddle-y miles today.

It's looking like a week of non-Arctic temperatures, for once, and I plan on making the most of it.

Right now, the high on Wednesday is forecast to be 54 degrees. Be still, my heart.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ear plugs, speed runs and other random Friday thoughts

I'm not sure I'm a fan.
Wednesday ended up being an unscheduled rest day due to a hair appointment that got moved around a bit. On the way out of town, I hit up a running store that I knew carried a small selection of swimming gear to buy more earplugs. I am prone to ear infections, so I like to swim with the soft silicon plugs, but all the store had was these flappy jobs above. I didn't have much of a choice, and I tried them out today. Eh -- I don't think I'm a fan. I could feel water in my ears, and I never felt like I had a tight seal. I'll give them another try but I think I need to track down my usual plugs.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.
I hit the Y today for a swim and a run in one go. It required a lot of stuff: All of my swimming equipment, a smoothie to drink while I was changing into run clothes, all of my running equipment, clothes for afterward, etc. My large gym bag was packed pretty full. I'm going to need to get re-used to this once I start my long training days this summer, having to pack about 17 bags and a cooler.

I mentioned that I had a hair cut a few days ago. I chopped a good 6 inches off, from the middle of my back to above my shoulders. (I go through this cycle every few years.) It was all well and good until I tried to put on a swim cap today. It's too short for a ponytail, but long enough that if I just put the cap on my head, my ends stick out the bottom. Plus, my goggles don't stay on as well without a braid to be anchored on. What to do, what to do.

My swim was mediocre, but my run was awesome. I did a speed workout on the treadmill of one mile at 6.0 mph (10 minute per mile pace), then the next two miles starting at 6.2 increasing every quarter, ending at 7.6 mph (just under an 8-minute mile). After a water break, I did it again, skipping from 6.2 to 6.6 so I could end at 7.8 mph (a 7:42 pace) before cooling down for another easy mile. Whew! It was tough, and probably the fastest I've run all winter. But I hung on and felt great. I was going to drop down to 6.2 every mile but I felt well enough at the end of the first that I kept going. How many other times have I missed out on some extra speed or effort because I THOUGHT I couldn't do it? It makes you think.

Hopefully, I can get in a good amount of training tomorrow. Right now I am binge-watching House of Cards. Will I make it to bed early enough to get up at a decent hour? I guess that depends what Frank gets up to this next episode.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The first race of the season...

... is on the schedule.

I'm signed up and paid for one of my favorite races, an Olympic-distance triathlon, over Memorial Day weekend. Bring it on!

I did OK at this race last year. I was coming off (another) freezing cold winter, my swim/bike/run was going well but not great, and I was in a new age group. I was hoping to PR, podium and/or qualify for Age Group Nationals, but I did none of these. But it was only my second Olympic distance, and I still learned a lot of valuable lessons to apply to the next one.

This year I'm hoping to knock off all of my goals from last year. I'm already swimming faster and more distance than last year, I'm biking a bit more, and I'm running a lot more. Fingers crossed that it will translate into a great race.

And hopefully this will continue to motivate me to get my butt in gear!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week in review February 23-March 1: A bit of everything

A pretty good mix.
Another not-too-shabby week. I had a pretty good spread of swim, bike and run, with some other stuff thrown in there, too. I made some gains in the pool and hit the treadmill five times for some decent running mileage.

Swim: Three times this week, all in the pool, for about 3.25 hours. This included some decently-paced-for-me 100s and a 1000-meter time trial that took a full 4:05 off last month's time. I finally have proof that I'm making progress and it feels good.

Bike: Three times this week, all on the trainer, for 4.75 hours total. Not a whole lot to write about here -- I just tried to focus on sustaining a harder effort instead of zoning out to Netflix yet again.

Run: An excellent week -- 32 miles! That includes five runs: two easy, an MMD, a speed and an LSD, for a total of just longer than 5 hours. It's my best week since I was running outside (sob!) in December, and the third time I've hit at least 30 weekly miles this year. Not shabby at all!

Five hours on the treadmill means I've watched a LOT of Netflix lately. (I try to save it for the treadmill, since I can't zone out and start moving slower like I can on the bike.) I made it through most of Arrested Development in the past week and a half, and I REALLY don't want to have to find another show before it warms up. I'll take recommendations, just in case -- Orange is the New Black? Scandal? Sherlock?

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

Plyo: One 20-minute session after each weights session for about 40 minutes total.

Yoga: One mini session of about 30 minutes.

Pre-hab: Nothing this week.

Total: Almost 16.5 hours this week, 

I really don't have anything bad to say about a week where I nail all my swim/bike/run/weights/plyo and even do a bit of yoga in there, although I wish I would have time for at least one pre-hab session. Oh well -- back at it for another week. Here we go.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February in review: Build, build, build

A solid February.
February was a solid month. My theme was "build," and I feel I nailed all of my goals for swimming, biking and running in addition to creating an even better base from January.

My actual goals for the month were:

I'm going to try adding a few more days of swimming and biking. Success! I added an additional bike and an additional swim day every other week. It's still much less volume than what "real" triathletes do, but it felt manageable to only worry about one extra session per week. And I've noticed my swim times are improving. Coincidence? I think not.

I want to hit 100 miles for running again. Success! And I didn't even have to sneakily do my long run on Saturday the 28th, either. I logged 115 running miles this month -- wowee!

I want to stay on my schedule of yoga, weights and pre-hab, seriously with the pre-hab this time. I actually met my goal of 6 weight-lifting sessions, and was pretty close with 5 plyo sessions, but I only logged 3 yoga sessions and 2 pre-hab sessions this month. I'm going to keep this one on my goal list until I actually do it.

And I want to lose those three damn pounds! Kind of -- I'm down two as of yesterday. I'm going in the right direction, at least.

I've also been keeping track of my swim and run meterage/mileage the past few years, with the loose goal of doing more than I did last year:

In February 2012, I swam just fewer than 22,000 meters in 11 swims (including my first indoor triathlon!). In February 2013, I swam 16,000 meters in 8 swims. And in February 2014, I swam 17,400 meters in 8 swims. 

This February 2015, I swam 10 times for 26,800 meters, which is my best February since I started keeping track. Success!

In February 2012 I was still building back from a tibial stress fracture, so I wasn't doing much running at all. In February 2013, I ran 114 miles while training for a spring marathon. In February 2014 I ran 45.5 miles.

But this February 2015, I logged a total of 115 running miles -- my best February since I started keeping track and one more than the last time I did a spring marathon! Once again, wowee!

Overall, I'm very happy with how the month shook out -- and a short month, at that.

March is going to be a weird month, as the family is going down to Florida for my sister's wedding. As a result, I'm not going to make any real goals beyond "keep doing what you're doing" -- alternate 2 and 3 swims per week, alternate 3 and 4 bike rides per week, run 100 miles, keep up with the "other" workouts, and lose a couple pounds. I plan on taking my swimsuits and running shoes with me, but training will not be the priority that week, and I'm OK with that.

If February's goal was "build," March's goal will be "build some more" -- and have a strong base come race season.