Thursday, March 31, 2016

I’m pretty sure I set a new 1000-meter PR

Sorry, guys. Lately I have been working a little later than usual, so my life has been: work, train a little, cook and food prep, go to bed later than I should, repeat.

But I have been doing some training in the evenings, and it's been going as well as to be expected. Monday night was the last swim of the month, so I did my 1000-meter time trial. My goal was to do it in 21:26, which, to the best of my knowledge, would be a 1-second PR from my time last February, my previous fastest time.

I hit my watch in 20:54, a 2:05/100-meter pace. BOOM.

Not too shabby for me.
I'm slow, but lately I'm getting less and less slow, which makes me happy. All this hard work is paying off.

I'm actually not 100% sure this is a PR because I didn't keep great records when I was first starting to get serious about swimming. But I can only go through my logs so many times. I did many other longer-distance swims of 1100 and 1300 meters, and even 1000 and 1100 yards, but as far as pure 1000-meter swims, I'm pretty sure this was the fastest I've ever gone.

The sad thing is, while going through my swim logs I discovered I haven't swum a faster 100, 200 or 300 than 2013 or 2014. So, that's depressing. But if I can make progress with my 1000-meter time trial, maybe I can make progress with the shorter distances, too.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week in review March 21-27: Too much sugar, not enough training

Fueled by jelly beans.
Two weeks ago, cheese was my nemesis. This week, it was sugar.

I’m not sure why, every year, I think I need to buy candy and goodies for Easter. I had family over yesterday and everyone brought sweets. My mom made a multi-layered cake with Peeps around the outside, for heaven’s sake! My teeth felt ready to rot out of my head by the end of the day. Between Easter, the Girl Scouts hitting me hard for cookie sales, and my husband bringing me back my favorite baked good from San Francisco, I’ve been going heavy on the sugar.

Not gonna lie, though; the coffee cake we’ve been eating these last few days was AMAZING. I’ll take another day or two, enjoy it, and then throw away what doesn’t get eaten.

In between sugary snack sessions, I did some training, too. Here’s how the week shook out:

Swim: Twice in the pool for 5600 meters total in about 2:22. I had Friday off, so I swam in the afternoon instead of the evening, and I managed my fastest 100 meters in two years. I thought I would barf and/or die, but I did it.

Bike: One shorter weekday session and one weekend “long ride” for 3:15 total. Nothing special here. Trainer rides got shuffled around a bit trying to fit in outside runs while the weather was warm, and by the end of the day Thursday, a normal riding day, I was just DONE.

Run: Twice, both very slow runs outside on warm-weather days, for 9 miles in about 1:37. The good: 9 miles is my highest mileage week since October, and my 6-miler was my longest “long run” since then, too. The bad: These were SLOOOOOOW runs. I went with my husband Tuesday, and he is slower than me, so no big deal there. I love when he comes with me. But on Sunday, weighed down by Easter goodness, I just could not get my act together. I felt like one of those dancing hippos from the movie “Fantasia” – slow and not at all graceful. It was a struggle.

Me running yesterday.
Yoga: One Sunday-night session for 20 minutes while watching The Walking Dead. (I know, I know.) When I settled into double pigeon my tailbone cracked several times up my spine so loudly my husband heard it. I definitely needed the stretch!

Total: Seven sessions in 7:34. Eh, not terrible. On one hand, I feel like I should have taken better advantage of my day off and long weekend. On the other, I had fun spending time with family and friends all weekend and celebrating Easter.

We’re getting more crazy warm weather this week so, hopefully, I’ll get in another outdoor run or two. I really need to kick my own butt into gear for weights and pre-hab, though – it has been too long. Ugh – there are only so many hours in the day. And I’ve already allotted many of them to my sugar consumption, apparently.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Easter noms. And Easter socks.
Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've been busy at work and only ("only") training once a day max. The realities of being non-rich, I guess.

It's supposed to warm up to the mid-60s today so I'm going to try to run after our family brunch to burn off some of these jellybeans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week in review March 14-20: Too much cheese, not enough training

Not pictured: Cheese-eating time.
Ugh, sorry, guys. Last week was busy with my husband being out of town and a crazy fun neighborhood event Sunday. The dogwalker came every weekday at noon for my spoiled mutts, but it killed me to know they were alone the rest of the day with only their 5,000 toys to entertain them, so I rushed home after work to give them cuddles, treats and belly rubs.

Lately, my weekends have been just as busy as the week days! I was better this weekend about getting to bed at a decent hour and getting a good night’s sleep, at least. I think I was asleep by 10:30 Saturday night. Rock star! Saturday consisted of breakfast out and errands before I did my trainer ride, and all day Sunday was dedicated to cleaning until my friends came over (haha) and the subsequent parade, partying and dinner out.

Long story short: I ate way too many French fries and way too much cheese to counteract the relatively little training I did.

Swim: Only once in the pool for 3200 meters in about 1:20 on Friday evening. I had the lap pool pretty much to myself and did NOT have to cut it short for a foot cramp, so I’ll take that small victory. My repeats were nothing spectacular but within a 3-second range, so at least I’m consistent. I skipped Monday’s scheduled swim because I was already crabby from losing an hour of sleep and stressed from being the solo dog parent (haha again), and it was a beautiful day, so I went for a run instead.

Bike: Twice on the trainer, one short session during the week and one “long ride” on Saturday, for a total of 3:15. I had to skip my other weekday ride for an evening work event. On the plus side, there was a TON of leftover cheese from the event and I got to take a lot of it home (see note above about eating way too much cheese this week).

Run: Twice, both OUTSIDE IN THE GORGEOUS WEATHER, for a total of 8.5 miles in about 1:22. My runs last week gave me so much joy: It was super nice out both days. I had very little discomfort in my IT band. I managed a 9:43 average pace for one and a 9:39 average pace for the other, a HUGE leap from where I was just a few months ago. 8.5 miles is my highest mileage week in a while. This makes me so, so, so happy. (I wanted to get in a third run Sunday, but the parade festivities went longer than expected. Regardless, I’m happy with what I did get done.)

Yoga: Hey, I did some yoga! I got 20 minutes of mostly pigeons, bends, etc. on Monday night.

Total: 6 sessions in about 6:18.

Nothing spectacular, but at least that included a bit of everything. Like every single other week, I wish I had more time. I could have done more yoga, lifted some weights, done my pre-hab exercises, swam once or twice more, etc., but I only have so many hours in the day. But overall, I feel I did the best with what time I had, and even had some fun on the weekend too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Week in review March 7-13: More low numbers

Not great.
OMG – it’s Wednesday already! What on earth happened to the week?!? I blinked and we’re halfway through.

Last week was the second blah week in a row. Instead of trying to cram in 100 things every day and being disappointed in myself when I couldn’t, I made it a goal to get one good session in each day. The weekend was MADNESS: Saturday was my local Slowtwitch road show, which I followed with errands and an outside run in the warm temperatures. Sunday we lost an hour of sleep and I had a baby shower more than an hour away, so that ended up being a big fat rest day. A rest day sitting on my butt in the car, mostly.

My numbers were low, but I survived without a nervous breakdown or a lack of sleep beyond my usual, so I guess I can count that as a success:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for a total of 5,050 meters in about 2 hours, 8 minutes. This included a shorter session that felt good, and a speed-based session that I had to abort due to a killer foot cramp. Again.

Bike: Once, on the trainer, for 1:15. Eh.

Run: I actually had success this week with running. I managed twice, both OUTSIDE, for a total of 8 miles in 1:25. My “long run” was 5.5 miles, BUT that 5.5 miles was my longest non-marathon run since mid-September. September!!!!! And 8 miles is my highest non-marathon weekly total since at least October. Small steps forward.

Other: Nothing.

Total: 5 sessions in about 4:48.

Random occurrence: Both my early week swim and run ended on 49 seconds, and both my late week swim and run ended on 12 seconds, so both totals were a time that ended 1 second over a round minute. Weird!

I’ve already lost one night this week to a work event, so it’s another “just try to get one thing done per day” kind of week. It’s not ideal, but unless I can figure out how to go without sleep or a job, it’ll have to do. The good news is today is 60 degrees again, so as soon as I get back home I’ll be heading out for a run in the warmth and sunshine.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A (foot) cramp in my style

Crampy foot.
First off, sorry I haven't been around here lately. I know you're DYING to hear about every single detail of my life. After the shitshow that was last week, I decided to go easy on myself this week and be satisfied with one thing per day. So far the week has gone swim, run, bike, play hooky to watch a movie (Hail Caesar) with my husband, and swim again. No weights, no pre-hab, nothing else... but I haven't had a nervous breakdown yet, so that's something.

I was excited to do another swim last night. We were sent home from work early so I took a nap, made an early dinner, and caught up on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia before heading to the pool. I zipped through my warmup and drills and was feeling fast and strong in the water. I wanted to do longer sets on longer rest, so I was planning a main set of 10 x 200 on the 4:45, which started out with 0:20-ish rest for the first couple, but by the end was down to 0:35-0:40 rest. I felt like I was waiting SOOOOO LOOOONG, but you can't argue with the fact that my repeats were getting faster.

And then, it happened again. Foot cramp!!! With two repeats left to go, bound and determined to see a 3:59 (which might have been my fastest 200 meters ever), my left foot cramped so badly I had to stop and try to stretch it out in the deep end. It wasn't going anywhere. I sculled back to start, got out, and limped to the showers. GRRRRRRRRR!

This has happened a couple of times already this training cycle (December, February) and I'm not sure what I'm doing different lately. Yes, I am swimming in the evening now, and since I'm not half asleep, I like to think I'm swimming harder. I do drink a lot of coffee (although I am trying to put a hard stop at noon) so maybe I am dehydrated. When I swim in the evenings it's after dinner has digested, so I don't eat a banana before I swim like I do in the mornings. Could it be one of those reasons? Something else?

All I know is this is getting to be a ... wait for it ... pain in the foot. Hopefully I can get this figured out before summer training kicks (ba-dum tiss) into high gear.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week in review February 29-March 6: I barely made it

Nothing spectacular.
Guys, this week was almost the death of me. I'm tired, I feel like I don't have time to do anything, and my husband's phone started ringing shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday so I didn't even get to catch up on any sleep. GAAAAH!

Honestly, by the time I made my usual coffee-and-groceries rounds Sunday afternoon, I decided the week was going to be a wash. Instead of trying to cram everything in, I got a few things done around the house and tried to relax instead.

A quick review of last week for posterity:

Swim: Once in the pool, for 2400 meters in almost exactly an hour. This included a 1000-meter time trial with a slight improvement, so it wasn't all bad.

Bike: Three times on the trainer, for 4.5 hours total. The only sport I had a good week in!

Yoga: One self-guided session for about 20 minutes while watching the first half of The Walking Dead.

And that was it.

I’m trying really hard not to beat myself up over this low-volume week. Some weeks will be great, and some will be not-so-great. I didn’t have an easy time of it last week and it showed. Nothing else to do except regroup and try again this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A few days late, but an improved February time trial

I'll take any improvement, no matter how small!
I had to work late Monday, so I couldn't get in one last swim to wrap up February. I'm not sure what possessed me to try to drive downtown and park on a Friday night, and I ended up getting to the pool a bit later than I would have liked, but I was bound and determined to complete a 1000-meter time trial and do it faster than last month.

Verdict: I managed a faster pace by 0:02 per 100. Considering I've only swam six times this month, I'll take it! I've still got a long way to go, but small steps forward are still steps forward.

If you're keeping track, that works out to:
December — 25:00 flat, for a 2:30/100 pace
January — 22:04, for a 2:13/100 pace
February — 21:53, for a 2:11/00 pace

Compared to last year, when I did:
January — 25:32, for a 2:33/100 pace
February — 21:27, for a 2:09/100 pace

So although I'm making it to the pool fewer times, I'm pretty consistent with where I was this time last year. Hopefully this is a bit of cumulative training hanging around. I make no secret that I'm not fast, but I know if I just keep working, I'll get a bit less slow, second by second.

Last year, I never did get faster than February's time, 21:27. So now I have a goal for March's time trial: 21:26, to set a new best time. I've got to get in the pool and do the work, but I think I can do it if I stay consistent.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

February in review: Not spectacular, but solid

March: Some swimming, lots of biking, and a bit of running, too.
I’m having a rough week. Monday I had a work event that ran longer than planned, and yesterday I was an emotional wreck. My gas light came on while I was driving home, and stopping to fill up seemed like such a daunting task that I burst into tears and sobbed at a red light. Somehow, I managed to fill my tank, buy groceries, and prep meals for today without another breakdown. The task of washing lettuce and chopping tomatoes was actually calming and good for my psyche.

I’m not sure if it’s the cold, the dark, the added work and life stress, the lack of sleep I’m currently experiencing, or what, but I’m hoping that the doldrums of February are behind me and that March shapes up to be a sunny, warm, training-filled month.

But first, a look back, and a look at how last month’s numbers compare to last year:
Relatively consistent swimming so far this year.
Swim: I managed 6 swims, all in the pool, for just longer than 17,000 meters (10.75 miles, thanks Daily Mile) in about 7.25 hours. That works out to two swims over two of those weeks, and one swim during the other two weeks. Me being sick with a cold accounted for missing two of those during the one-swim weeks.

Feb. ’15 swim: I had a different work schedule last year, so I was able to swim an average of 2.5 times per week instead of 1.5 this year. Still, my times this year compare to where I was speed-wise last year, so I’m hoping some of that cumulative experience makes up for simply not being able to get into the pool as often.

Bike: I got on the trainer 9 times, for about 13.5 hours total. These were a mix of shorter, big-ring interval rides during the week, and longer, small-ring interval rides on the weekend. The 9 times works out to 3 weeks at only 2 rides, and only 1 week with 3 rides. Hmmm. That … doesn’t seem like enough riding.

Feb. ’15 bike: Again, different work schedule last year; I managed 14 trainer rides during February of last year. But, I have better equipment this year after buying a fluid trainer that actually works with my triathlon bike, so I’m hoping that helps minimize some of that loss.
Runs by week (since my last marathon in October)...

And by month.
Run: 6 runs, 3 each on the treadmill and on the road, for 18.25 miles in about 3.25 hours. This is all SLOOOOOW running to ease back into it, after my IT bands gave me a world of trouble last summer and fall. I do have the benefit of crazy warm February weather this year to keep me running outside.

Feb. ’15 run: This is really comparing apples to penguins, my new favorite saying I just heard this morning, as I was running 100-mile months this time last year and NOT coming off an injury. Last February I logged 115 miles, almost all on the treadmill. Eh – I’d rather come back slowly and without fanfare than re-injure myself.

My weight lifting is about the same from last year to this year, I’m doing more pre-hab (because I have to!), and my yoga and plyo sessions are down a few instances from last year. I’m not terribly surprised nor inclined to make too much of a change, although I DO need to work in more yoga … as I tell myself every single freakin’ month.

Also, I’d do a comparison of February to January, but the numbers are very similar. Imagine that I’ve been a slow, steady machine since the first of the year.

Overall: I’m satisfied with these numbers, and there were no surprises. Of course I would have liked to do more, but I feel like I did the best I could around getting sick, having a regular job, and needing to do things like cook and sleep.

Onward to March.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Week in review February 22-28: A few "first in a long time" things

A great week overall.
I had a work event yesterday that ran late, so I'm behind here and everywhere else in life. You know how it goes. BUT, the good news is I had a solid training week last week.

There were a bunch of "first in a long time" things, like I mentioned in my headline. It was my first double-digit training hours week in a while (while I wasn't on vacation, anyway), my longest run since the marathon, and my fastest mile since the marathon. It was the first time in a few weeks I lifted weights twice, the first time in a while I bumped up the weights for a few moves, the first time in at least a few weeks I did a full round of rehab ... and there might be a few others, too.

Anyway, broken down by discipline:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 5600 meters total in about 2:23. I had an epiphany that I can get out of the pool after an hour instead of closing it down, which changed the whole mood of my Monday swim. My Friday swim wasn't great but at least I was in there.

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 4.5 hours total. This worked out to two weekday rides of 1:15 and one longer weekend ride of 2 hours. Nothing special here, I just got it done.

Run: Twice, one quick run on the treadmill and a run outside in ridiculous 62-degree weather, for 7 miles total in 1:12. Slow and steady wins the race. I had some discomfort but no real pain in my IT band, it was my longest run since October, I managed a sub-10:00 mile, it was beautiful sunshiney weather... just an overall great day.

Weights: Twice, once using heavy weights/body weight and one video, for about 1:50. I was going to do my plyo moves after the video on Sunday, but my blood sugar started to drop and I needed to rest and take in some sugar instead.

Pre-hab: A full round! My ankles/arches/toes exercises, hip-strenthening moves, and glute routine, for about 1:05 total.

Total: 12 sessions in almost exactly 11 hours. Wow! The only thing I didn't get to do last week was any yoga.

I'm happy with how the week shook out. I trained about as much as I could, and I'm happy with what I accomplished. I feel like it was a solid week of building a base for the season to come.