A Long Overdue Update: Seneca7, Rev3 Quassy, and Lake Placid

Hello.  It’s me.  I was wondering if after all … these months you’d like an update?  Yes?  Good.

Summer nights in the city

As you noticed, I failed to write a blog post following the Seneca7 in April. For the second consecutive year—and third time total—I tackled the 77.7-mile relay race around Seneca Lake with some of my best runner friends. We had a blast, and it was an unforgettable weekend, but when I thought about articulating the weekend, I struggled to find the words.

The Seven PerSISTERS

The CNY running and endurance community suffered a tragic loss at this race with a local legend passing away. Although I didn’t know him well, we met a few times at Fleet Feet events during the summer of 2012. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and I wanted to soak up his positivity and knowledge. When I visited the shop during my trips home, I would occasionally see him, and that was the extent of our interactions. Our paths didn’t cross during the Seneca7 itself, but upon hearing the news, I struggled to accept it. How could this happen to someone so young, so passionate, so selfless?

Summer solstice sunrise

For the following few weeks, the news consumed my thoughts, especially during workouts—the endurance sets in the pool, the VO2 max efforts in the saddle, the speedwork intervals on the pavement. Working through the disbelief, the shock, the sadness by swimming, biking, and running helped, and it gave my training a renewed sense of appreciation.  Life is too short to pursue things that don’t bring us truly alive; this sport, this lifestyle, this community make me feel complete.

My happy place: in the saddle

This perspective made me feel relaxed heading into my first triathlon of the year, Rev3 Quassy. A hilly and technical course, this race broke me last year: in what is usually my strongest discipline, the bike made me feel uncomfortable, ill prepared and absolutely dejected, and I carried these sentiments onto the run. This year, the plan was simple: execute a solid swim; ride conservatively on the bike; and hang tough on the run.

During the first event of the season, there are always kinks to iron out, but the outing progressed smoothly.

Pleased with my execution and pleasantly surprised to bring this home

Aside from dropping my chain during the 40-K bike ride—and having to get off my bike to fix it—I had a good day and even managed to sneak on in my age group. I was shocked given the technicality of the course and my mechanical issue. Any day you wind up on the podium is a good day, but I was even happier with my progress:  I shaved off three minutes from my swim; I refused to let the mechanical issue spiral out of control on the bike and simply accepted it and moved on; and I hung tough on the run and even passed people.  This season debut gave me even more confidence in my abilities, progress, and mental game.  It also peaked my interest in long-course racing since I dialed into an endurance effort on the bike and felt comfortable on the run.

Not ready to be done … who am I?

The long-course thoughts continued as I traveled to Lake Placid in mid-June for our yearly training trip. I trained like a 70.3 athlete for four days and took full advantage of serene Mirror Lake and the beautifully brutal bike and run courses: I logged four swims, two rides, and two runs, which equated to nearly five miles of swimming, 100-plus miles of riding, and 17 miles of running. Open-water swims occurred every day, and I rode one 56-mile loop of bike course on Friday and Saturday.

Bro-ing out and keeping an eye on the boys as they fixed a flat tire

The second ride provided a new Sherpa/emotional guardian experiences: two guys in our group are doing Ironman Lake Placid, and they needed to ride 112 miles (two loops of the course) on Saturday, and I tagged along for miles 56-112. Although I’ve witnessed friends in various stages of their Ironman training—and have even been on hand during the race itself—I had not witnessed the crucial 100-mile ride firsthand, specifically the backend when things can unravel. There were a few tough moments out there—for those who know the course, especially during the final 12-mile climb back into town—but the guys did great.

Never have I ever spontaneously signed up for a half-marathon. Oh, wait …

Placid is paradise and makes me feel fully alive—and it also tempts me do crazy things, like spontaneously sign up for a half-marathon. To be fair, there was some peer pressure (thanks a lot, long-course buds!), but I did not need much convincing. Any and all time I could spend outdoors was welcome, and again, my long-course wheels were turning: the 13.1-mile run was nearly identical to the route athletes will run at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid this September. Thankfully, my coach gave me the green light, and he instructed me to use this outing as a pure recovery run, especially since I was coming off 100-plus miles of cycling of the past two days.

As I ticked off mile after mile, I was grateful to be moving at a pace of “hanging out for a scenic tour of Placid” and not pushing it because the course was absolutely beautiful, and the outing served as a good recon session as well. I even got to run with a super cute ultra runner who looked like a lumberjack. It was the perfect way to end the one of the best weekends of the year.

Never leaving

So what’s coming up? I tackled my first aquathlon this past weekend in Coney Island. A few of my Bearcat masters buds raced as well, and we all completed the two-mile open-water swim and six-mile run. It was an adventure, and I learned a lot out there; it was a good simulation for my “A” race, SwimRun VA in October. Hopefully I can post a race report within a reasonable amount of time. This weekend is the NYC Triathlon, and like last year, I will be volunteering for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) as a handler.

What’s new with you?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 15 (April 10)

For the first time in a few weeks, we are back to regularly scheduled programming.

Back in my happy place and back on dawn patrol

It’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated to recover from the Queens Marathon, and although I am trying to be patient with myself, I really want to start logging quality efforts again.

Training notes: this is the first week since the marathon that I’ve felt semi-normal/recovered. All but one of my workouts went as planned, but unfortunately, the pool was closed for general maintenance and the Easter holiday. I definitely missed the water this week. I also got a sports massage, which helped the recovery process.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We kicked off Monday with a recovery-based 75-minute ride. My legs felt fatigued getting on the bike, but they felt better getting off.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park); p.m. run with Achilles

Some #2MileTuesday action with 60 minutes in the saddle and two miles off the bike.

After work, I met my Achilles buddy, and we ran together for the first time since the marathon. Central Park was a zoo—so many folks on bikes, motorized vehicles, etc.—and it was stressful guiding experience, but we completed six miles.

Wednesday – a.m. run

What was supposed to be my first workout since the marathon ended up being a recovery run. After doing a warm-up and the first interval, I could tell my legs were not in a good place. I could’ve grinded it out, but I am trying to be smarter about my training, especially since my first race isn’t until June.  I also got a much needed sports massage after work.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We completed the same VO2 max workout from last week: 6×3 minutes at VO2 max with three minutes of rest between each interval. One of the benefits of repeating sessions is learning from the workout before and executing more precisely the next time. Last week, I found myself “hanging out” at 110 percent for each interval—I couldn’t tap into the top-end watts—but this week, I knew I could push myself. With each progressive interval, I challenged myself to start a bit higher: 105, 110, 115, 117 and finally 120 percent.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

An easier-than-anticipated two-hour indoor ride. Our main set included two, 25-minute builds that started at 65 percent and progressed to 105 percent plus one final block at 90 percent that called for different cadences every three minutes. I got off the bike feeling great!

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy and sweaty loop of Central Park with my running buddy. The warm weather has arrived!

How do you adjust to working out in warmer weather?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 14 (April 3)

It always feels like the weekdays drag while the weekend flies by.

As seen after my run

This week seemed especially long since I had non-training commitments every night after work. Being busy is good, but I definitely need a few more days to recover, ha.

Training notes: my coach and I met last week for a summit meeting to recap the off-season and discuss my triathlon life. I made a lot of progress on my swim and run throughout the past few months, but I am ready to be a triathlete again and become BFFs with my bike. Because I was logging laps and running miles, I lost a lot of watts, so I have my work cut out for me—but the month of April is all about the bike.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

After a busy and high volume weekend, my legs needed this 75-munute spin-out. It took about 40 minutes for everything to loosen up, but I felt much better getting off the bike than I did getting on.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park)

April is brick month at Tailwind Endurance, and we kicked off the campaign with some #2MileTuesday action: this consisted of a 75-minute threshold ride and—you guessed it—a two-mile run off the bike. This was my first run after the marathon (you know you’re a triathlete when …), and I headed to Central Park with one of my friends for a lower loop. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable everything felt.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Coming off my first true brick of the season, I wasn’t sure how quickly my body would recover and turn around for a quality swim. Although this was a freestyle-based practice, there was a lot of choice stroke work, but I chose to do freestyle, ha.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Nothing showy or flashy about this workout: 6×3 minutes at VO2 max with a long warm-up and cool down.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

For whatever reason, this swim felt like a breakthrough workout. I’ve been feeling a bit down on my swimming after last weekend’s meet, but I felt so good in the water during this IM session—and not just during freestyle. Maybe this is a turning point, or maybe it’s mental, but either way, it was a great 3500m swim.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

A most successful sports Saturday: two hours on the bike and 1.5 hours in the water. The ride consisted of a 3×20 minutes at threshold main set, and we tackled 4200m of freestyle work with lots of pulling and kicking in the pool.

Sunday – a.m. run

Since April is all about the bike, my “long run” will decrease: today, for example, I met my run bud for 5.5 miles. That’s it. My legs felt like molasses from the biking this week so I was glad there were not double digits on the schedule.

What are your goals this month?

Guiding for Achilles at the 2nd Annual Queens Marathon

On Sunday, March 26th, my Achilles buddy and I negotiated turns, avoided potholes, and dodged puddles en route to running 26.2 miles (26.8 according to my Garmin) at the NYCRUNS Queens Marathon.

Pre-race with the Achilles Queens group

Held in Corona Park and co-sponsored by the Queens Distance Runners, this event offered both a full marathon and 20-mile tune-up option and welcomed about 300 athletes.  The Achilles cohort had five athletes participating and 18 guides who ran anywhere from one to all four loops of the course.

If you’ve been reading for a while, then you may recall my renewed perspective on the 2017 triathlon season, and one of my guiding principles: service.  I want to give back to the community that has given me so much.  My experience volunteering as a handler with the Challenged Athletes Foundation during the NYC Triathlon in 2016 rejuvenated my outlook on sport, and functioning in this type of capacity is something I plan to do on a regular basis.  Several of my triathlon friends are involved with Achilles—a nonprofit that aims to enable people with disabilities to participate in mainstream running events—so getting involved was easy.  Achilles NYC hosts two workouts each week (the group meets Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings in Central Park), and I started attending sessions in December and gaining experience as a guide.  There is a rough guiding framework, but its execution varies from athlete to athlete.  I can only speak to my experience so this post will focus on what I do for the athlete I guide.

My Achilles buddy and I first ran together in December—he was the second person I guided, ever—and we hit it off immediately.  He’s an experienced runner and triathlete who’s tackled marathons and even completed Ironman Lake Placid, and we have a lot of mutual tri friends.  He is visually impaired and legally blind, so when we run together, we use either a tether or a race belt that we both hold.  By pulling the device, I can make adjustments to the direction he runs, and we also communicate a lot. (More on that in a bit.) Anyway, when he asked me to guide him for the Queens Marathon, I was honored and honestly shocked—I had yet to run a marathon myself!  He knew, though, and had no concerns or reservations so I said yes.

As the marathon approached, we ran together on a regular basis, usually doing six miles on Tuesday evenings and going longer on Saturday mornings.  Prior to race day, the farthest we ran together was 11 miles. (The weekend before the marathon, he did the NYC Half, which was his longest pre-26.2 outing.) For me, my coach said to think of this event as an ultra-marathon:  I would be running at a much slower pace and would be on my feet for much longer.  In addition to my normal tri training, we increased my run mileage, and I capped off at a 15-mile long run.  We knew from my training load my engine would be able to run (ha!) for close to five hours, and we also knew I would be OK muscularly.  Sure, there would be pain, but nothing debilitating.  The challenge for me, however, would be mental: being out there for a long time and staying present, focused, and engaged.

Out there: this is loop three or loop four.

At this point, I will disclose this is neither how I would’ve trained for “my marathon” nor how I would recommend training for a marathon in general.  I should also disclose there was a discrepancy in our training paces. (I did my solo long runs in the 8:40 min./mi. range, and when we ran together, we were in the 9:30 min./mi. ballpark; for the marathon, we were targeting 10:00 min./mi.) Finally, my buddy knew the training wasn’t there for a PR, so it was all about having fun and enjoying the experience.

That said, though, I didn’t know what my body would do after 15 miles. This outing would be one of the toughest things I had ever done. The buildup was far from perfect, but I put my body through some brutal workouts—power tests, race-simulation workouts, swim meets. (The 100 IM at Harvard was one of the most painful things I have ever done.) I knew there would be pain during the marathon, but I knew I could handle it.  I mentally prepared for dark patches, and to work through those times, my coach told me to remember:  “this is a gift you are giving someone else.”  Maybe it was naïve, but I knew that sentiment would carry me through the darkest of times.

There were no dark times.

Heading to the start line: almost marathon time!

As the race begun, I entered a space of intense focus.  My job was to get our team across the finish line.  Mile after mile passed, and I found myself in a state of flow.  No thinking; just doing.  Calm confidence. The looped nature of the course brought both positives and negatives. On the plus side, our Achilles team did not face new terrain after six miles, and there is something to be said for comfort in repetition—just not in terms of this course specifically.  There were tight turns, including some traffic circle-like patterns, and the road itself contained potholes and speed bumps.  Several times per loop, we had to go off-road onto the grass to avoid running through puddles.  These obstacles could’ve been disastrous, but luckily, my buddy and I communicate well:  I would announce turns, terrain changes, etc. at least 20 seconds in advance; I would audibly count down as we approached speed bumps (“Speed bump coming in three … two … one”); and I would give clear instructions on our general plan (like veering right, making a sharp left, stepping onto grass).  Basically, I was the primary guide/navigator/coach, so I was responsible for maintaining our formation, delegating jobs to our supporting guides, and making sure everyone was feeling OK throughout the race.  Our team had two guides per loop, and having that extra person was incredibly helpful.  In most cases, I had the second guide run slightly in front of us to create space and announce to fellow athletes that a blind runner was approaching.  The second guide was also tasked with running ahead to aid stations and getting hydration/nutrition needs sorted.

See the race belt? We used it as our tether during the race.

As we grinded through the later miles (my buddy hit the wall at mile 18), I found myself repeating sayings my coaches have told me over the years, and I had no reaction when we reached uncharted distances for me.  Everything after 15 miles was new, but there was no internal dialogue or narrative. Instead, it was all about making sure my athlete was doing OK:  asking if he needed nutrition, inquiring about how the pace felt, listening to his breathing pattern.  The only time the miles got “personal” was when we hit mile 25 because that was my number for basketball, a fun fact I relayed to our team.

We did it!

We crossed the finish line in 4:45:45, and the experience seems surreal.

What was the most memorable moment during your first marathon or most recent race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 13 (March 27)

Yesterday afternoon, in addition to conquering my second swim meet in three weeks and third one ever, I enjoyed some delicious dim sum with my Bearcat teammates.

Surprisingly, not stuffed with pork, but rather a sweet, egg custard. Yum!

We pigged out big time!

Training notes: this week was all about recovering from last Sunday’s 26.2-mile adventure. (The recap is almost done, promise.) Although I was able to walk and move around fairly well on Monday, I didn’t start to feel somewhat normal until Thursday. And I learned the hard way that I cannot run a marathon and then expect to slice through the water at a swim meet.

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer spin-out at Tailwind Endurance

After work, I went to Tailwind for an easy 30-minute spin-out and spent some quality time in the NormaTec sleeves.

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Another easy spin session at Tailwind. This time, I went before work—and saw a bunch of my triathlon buds—and made adjustments to the prescribed workout. Basically, I hung out at 70-75 percent for 70 minutes.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

After a week-long hiatus, I returned to the water. My legs still felt toasted from Sunday, but I hung tough for 4200m of freestyle swimming.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

A Sufferfest workout was on the docket, and while the class tackled the prescribed intervals, my coach instructed me to do the VO2 max efforts as threshold blocks. My legs felt surprisingly OK, and I was even getting a little ancy toward the end of the workout because I wanted to push more.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for Friday Fly Day! My body felt much better in the water, but this IM-based, butterfly-focused workout was still brutal. We logged 4000m.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Sportz Saturdays are back! The day started with a two-hour ride at Tailwind Endurance. It was a tough workout with intervals ranging from 80 to 105 percent without any true recovery. (Blocks at 70 percent were considered recovery.) I hit my numbers and survived the ride, but I have a lot of work to do in the saddle.

That afternoon, I went to the pool for a 90-minute distance freestyle swim. My favorite set of the day was the 5x200s. I love locking into that pace. We also spent some time working on starts off the blocks for the upcoming meet.

SundayNYC Parks Swim Meet

Lesson learned: I cannot except to swim fast one week after running a marathon. There were about 30 Bearcats who went to Queens for this meet, and since most of us competed at Harvard two weeks ago, expectations were low. In hindsight, I should’ve done what my teammates did and swam events I “didn’t care about” like the 50-yard breaststroke and maybe the 100-yard butterfly. Instead I swam personal worsts in the 200 and 500 freestyle and the 100 IM. Oh well. Train, race, and learn.

How long does it take you to recover from races?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 12 (March 20)

Sunday was the best day.

Twenty-six point two, Team Asim smashed you!

Training notes: coming off a fun and intense weekend in the pool, by body realized just how much effort it put forth, and I spent this week battling a head cold. Apparently post-swim meet congestion is normal, but sneezing and blowing my nose every five minutes was not how I wanted to spent my marathon week. When I was stuffy earlier during this training cycle, I tried to power through and log my workouts as prescribed. I’m stubborn, and it took me a while to realize in order to truly heal, I needed to rest. So that’s what I did this week: slept in, took it easy, and only ran twice before Sunday’s marathon.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

My running buddy and I met for the first time in weeks for an easy shake-out. He raced the NYC Half, and my body was still feeling the effects of three days in the water, so it was very much a gossip-paced run.

Wednesdaya.m. swim with Bearcat masters off

I woke up stuffy and congested so I skipped my swim workout.

Thursdaya.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance off

Trying to be a responsible athlete is tough.

Fridaya.m. run off

Womp, womp

Saturday – a.m. run

Easy 20-minute shakeout in Central Park to make sure I remembered how to run

Sunday – Queens Marathon

We did it! My Achilles bud and I tackled four loops of Corona Park for the NYCRUNS Queens Marathon. It was an unforgettable adventure (it was also my first marathon!), and I’m so proud of my friend for hanging tough and getting it done. Race recap to come!

2017 New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship Recap

From Friday, March 17 through Sunday, March 19, my Bearcat masters teammates and I traveled to Boston for the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship.

Hello. It’s me.

A staple event for my team, this competition was my first multi-day and short-course yards meet. (My first two meets were measured in meters.) Suffice to say, it was a weekend of learning, absorbing, and growing as an endurance athlete, and I had a blast butterflying, backstroking, breaststroking, and freestyling.

Even though I took swimming lessons as a kid, I cannot compare myself to folks who logged laps through high school and college.  The competitive swimming learning curve is steep.  Yes, I had goals for the meet, but they centered on execution as opposed to performance-based, numerical values.  As I’ve learned with triathlon—and to paraphrase legendary basketball coach John Wooden—when I focus on doing the little things right, that makes the big things happen.

I went to Harvard … for a weekend for a swim meet. (Don’t worry, Mom: the tattoo is temporary.)

Speaking of John Wooden, I had flashbacks to my basketball days as we rode the bus from New York City to Boston on Thursday night: heading to another city for a weekend of competing, cheering, and hanging out.  During the 4.5-hour drive, my teammates talked me through the structure of the meet and gave me tips for warming up, cooling down, and staying composed during the eight-plus hours we’d be spending at the pool each day.  We also talked a lot about eating and team dinners, and it became apparent food was a top priority for swimmers.  Full disclosure:  I quickly hopped aboard the all-you-can-eat bandwagon and had two breakfasts every morning.  I even went to an amazingly delicious diner after finishing my final event.

So metabolically inefficient, so not caring. Thanks to The Breakfast Club for making this spread possible.

To be fair, swimming five events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, and 100 IM) over the course of three days revved my appetite.  I spent the most time in the water on Saturday, swimming the 500 free, 50 free, and 100 IM.  On Friday, I swam the 100 free and 200 free relay.  On Sunday, I did the 200 free. Heading into the weekend, this line-up seemed doable.  After all, I was “racing” 1000 yards over three days, and we typically swim 3000m each day during practice.  But when you calculate warm-ups (800 yards or so each morning) and cool downs (100-300 yards after each event), it was a lot of swimming:  high intensity swimming, slicing through the water swimming, searing pain swimming that made my muscles scream.  But that’s when the race starts, and that’s what makes it fun:  when your body begs you to relent, slow down, or stop all together, what do you do?

Just do it

As the weekend progressed, I became increasingly comfortable and confident reading the heat sheets and remembering my lane assignment, developing a warm-up and cool down routine, and managing my nerves and excitement.  This was a big meet, and the events progressed quickly:  the competition pool contained eight lanes, and each event saw as few as 8 or as many as 20 heats. (For example: the women’s 400 IM wasn’t a popular event; the men’s 50 free, however, was the polar opposite.) There were two adjoining, but separate pools, which were designated as warm-up and cool down areas.  Sometimes, I had a lane to myself; others, I was circle-swimming with six people.  I liked how there was a specific time each day to practice starts off the blocks.  I need a lot of practice with dives.  One of my teammates helped me adjust the blocks and gave me some pointers, and I could feel myself progressing throughout the weekend.  I enter the water with a little more pop and authority these days, although I still have plenty of room for improvement.

#WannabeSwimmer?

I had the most fun swimming the 200 freestyle relay on Friday afternoon, and I confirmed my partiality toward the longer distances of the 200 and 500 yards.  One of the coaches said people either love or hate the 200, and it’s an event that plays to my strengths as an endurance athlete—it demands speed, endurance, and the ability to hurt.  These characteristics matter for the 50 and 100 too, but elements like getting off the blocks (I may be the slowest swimmer off the blocks) and breathing patterns (apparently, you aren’t supposed to breathe every stroke during a 50 because it slows you down) matter more, and I simply have not developed those skills yet.  Again, those little things—starts, turns, breathing patterns—make the big things happen, and those little things mean more during shorter events.  If I’m the last one off the blocks during a 50, I can’t make that up.  Plus, I like the pacing strategy behind the 200 and 500.  The 200 was my final event of the meet, and it was the one I executed the most precisely: redline off the blocks for 50, settle in to 87 percent for the second 50, and then build through 100 by 25s.  I had a similar strategy for the 500: use the adrenaline off the blocks, settle in, and then increase the effort at the 300-yard mark.  Overall, my triathlon background translates better to those longer distances, so going forward, that’s what I’ll be focused on.

A complete race recap needs results so here are mine:

Friday
100 free – 1:05.68 (seed – 1:06); 10th AG

Saturday

500 free – 6:32.29 (seed – 8:00); 11th AG

100 IM – 1:24.40 (seed – 1:30); 21st AG

50 free – 30.90 (seed – 32.00); 10th AG

Sunday

200 free – 2:25.28 (seed – 2:48); 8th AG

When is your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 11 (March 13)

I’m a few days late with this post, but with good reason.

Blodgett Pool at Harvard: so much room for activities!

From Friday through Sunday, I spent some quality time with my Bearcat masters teammates at Harvard competing at the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship. This is a staple event for my team, and my only regret is waiting so long to attend—I had so much fun!

Training notes: this week centered on keeping my legs and body fresh for the swim meet. Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, I didn’t run at all, but that may have worked in my favor because my legs felt great throughout the weekend.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

It’s been a while since we’ve done this workout titled “Peter Rabbit.” Following a 15-minute warm-up, we faced three intervals that contained tempo and threshold efforts: four minutes at 88 percent, then two minutes at threshold times three (with one-minute rest between).

Tuesdaya.m. run and p.m. run off

Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, there was no working out—but I needed the rest day.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

About half the people at practice were heading to Harvard, so the coach divided us into two groups and programmed different workouts: a “normal” swim and a taper one. I opted for the taper option, and we did a lot of race-paced efforts (mostly 100s) and practiced diving off the blocks. I never thought I’d see the day where 3200m was a taper swim.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Easy spin-out to keep the legs fresh for the weekend. After work, I hopped on the bus with my Bearcat teammates and headed to Boston.

Friday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

I. Love. Swimming. Full recap to come, but my first short-course yards meet started with the 100-yard freestyle (1:05.68) and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Saturday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

Day two packed the most action in the pool: 500-yard freestyle (6:32.29), 100-yard IM (1:24.40), and 50-yard freestyle (30.90).

Sunday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

The 200-yard freestyle (2:25.28) ended up being my favorite distance of the weekend, and it was my lone event on the final day of competition.

How was your weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 10 (March 6)

Although half over already (what?), March will be a memorable month.

Long run headspace for the win

Next weekend is my third swim meet, and on the 26th, I’m guiding an Achilles athlete for the Queens Marathon. Big things coming!

Training notes: overall, this was another good week of swimming, biking, and running, and I also came to a few conclusions about training thus far. First, after Monday’s power test, I confirmed I cannot expect to make huge gains on the bike by riding only twice per week. I also realized I am ready to start biking more (remember how I avoided my bike for three months during the off-season?). This realization came at the right time, although I have a few events to finish first—my swim meet on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the Queens Marathon on the 26th. After those two outings—and after some recovery from running 26.2 miles—we will shift to traditional triathlon training. Although I like swimming four times per week, my swim frequency will decrease to make room for more biking and running intensity.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

So that was a power test that happened. It had been a year since my last one, and I forgot how mentally tough it is. We started with a five-minute “blowout” effort to wake up the legs and open up the lungs before the official test began. I broke up the 20 minutes into mini, five-minute blocks and focused on building the effort throughout.  I did not make as many watts as I wanted, but I will get them back.

Tuesday – a.m. run and p.m. run

Started the day with five Cat Hill repeats for a total of five miles. After work, my Achilles buddy and I met up for a loop of Central Par. We both wore our neon Achilles t-shirts and received a ton of cheers and words of encouragement.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

There was a lot of “choice” work during this practice, meaning each swimmer got to select which stroke(s) to do—and since I have a swim meet in a week, I chose IM. (Never thought I’d see the day!)

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This short, 60-minute ride was a “zone tester” to make sure our new FTPs were accurate. Since my FTP increased only a handful of watts, I didn’t have too much trouble hitting and holding threshold and low VO2 max intervals.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

We kicked off taper week with some short and fast efforts (lots of 25s and 50s), and during the workout, we also had our choice of strokes to work on. Since I’m doing the 100 IM at Harvard, that’s what I chose to do during our main set. I logged about 3,000m before heading to work.

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Like last week, I tackled my long run on Saturday (12-mile progression run) before a longer, 1.5-hour (and 3,700m) swim with my Bearcat buds. It was a high-volume day, but I felt great during and after both workouts.

Sunday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Short, hour-long swim just to get a feel for the water

When’s your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 9 (Feb. 27)

Welp, better late than never …

I saw this place a decent number of times this week.

Hello. It’s me.

With the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship—aka Harvard—coming up, I’ve been spending time staring at that black line. Two weeks and counting until my third swim meet!

General training notes: I’m finally power testing next week, so we focused on staying fresh and getting the fatigue out of my legs. My bike workouts were recovery-based this week, and aside from my hill repeat run on Tuesday, my runs were easy as well. I do have a swim meet coming up

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We deviated from our normal Monday ride and tackled a workout that contained four builds on hills. Each five-minute interval began at 83 percent with the goal of increasing our effort as our cadence dropped.

Tuesday – a.m. run

Five Cat Hill repeats and five miles

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Aside from a cockroach on one of the lanelines, this was an uneventful freestyle-focused swim. (Progress: I’m becoming more proficient with paddles.) We logged 3,100m.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Since I’m power testing on Monday, this was an easy, 75-minute recovery ride for me.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Hello, Friday fly-day. Following a longer freestyle warm-up with plenty of pulling, we tackled a main set that alternated between butterfly and freestyle. Per usual, I brought up the rear in the lane, but I’ve noticed my butterfly stamina has improved: I can do 25m without feeling gassed.

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for sportz Saturdays! I met up with my Achilles bud, and we tackled 11 miles in Central Park. Due to the temperature being in the 20s, it wasn’t packed, but we were lucky enough to have three additional guides running with us to flank the way. (It helps to have an extra person or two running in front of us to clear a path and “direct traffic.”)

That afternoon, I hit the pool for a monster 4,100m distance freestyle swim with the Bearcats. Gotta get everything locked in for Harvard!

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

East hour-long spin-out at Tailwind followed by a 3,500m practice with the Bearcats

What’s your biggest workout day of the week?