Monthly Archives: February 2014

Spill It

Hey, look who’s popping in on a weekday and blogging!

estrogen-bars

Jokes.  You know you work at a running store when …

I know, I know.  Blogging has fallen to the wayside since triathlon training began in January.  There aren’t enough hours in the day, and something’s gotta give.  But in an effort to start again, I’m taking a page from Alex’s book and spilling it.

The last five people you spoke to on the phone:  Do people still talk on the phone?  Aside from work-related calls, I talk to my mom everyday, and that’s about it.  So let’s go with texts instead.

Coach – re: triathlon stuff

Sister – re: boyz and nailpolish colors

Sister – re: the dentist

Mom – re: finally getting a Valentine’s Day card because I don’t check my mail

Friend/coworker – re: inside joke/making fun of someone

The last five meals you ate:  Hello, standbys.  Aside from Whole Foods sushi and Taco Tuesdays, I cook 95 percent of my food.

Eggs and egg whites with spinach and avocado

Chicken fried rice from The Feed Zone Cookbook

Indian-spiced turkey burgers with roasted Brussels spouts, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes from Practical Paleo

Protein smoothie with banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, almond butter, and protein powder

Turkey wrap with spinach, hummus, and avocado

The last five places you traveled/will go:  Define “traveled.”

Stamford, CT to swim in a long-course pool

Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run The Cherry Tree 10 Miler

cherry-tree-10-miler-jackrabbit-candid

The Armory in the Bronx to watch some friends from work race

“Upstate,” aka about an hour and forty five minutes outside of the city to see my sister and Zelda

And I will go to South Beach in 38 days to race!

The last five workouts you did:

See training log—swimming, biking, running, and strength training.

Five things that make you happy right now:

My friends (both coworkers and teammates) – I’m surrounded by some awesome people.  It’s a blessing to train and work alongside folks who truly “get it,” and they constantly inspire me to become a better athlete and employee.

My job – I don’t talk about it a lot, but it’s going well.  Really well.

My health and training – My life centers on swimming, biking, and running, and again, I feel so blessed to have the health, body, and support—from my family, teammates, and friends—that allow me to train.

(Pictures of) Zelda

2:26-zelda

And my Dad’s coming to visit this week!

Your turn—spill it!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of February 17 (Phase One, Week Seven)

Greetings, and happy Sunday!  To everyone who’s texted, called, and expressed condolences, thank you.  It’s been a tough week to be an Orange fan.

Sadly, Syracuse dropped not one, but two games, snapped their undefeated season, and above all, lost to Duke last night, which is simply unacceptable.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty here, but head coach Jim Boeheim got tossed, and his ejection essentially decided the game.  Definitely not the way this match-up against two basketball powehouses should end.

jim-boeheim-duke-game-meme

[source]

Anyway, let’s talk training.

General training notes:  Basically, this week was all over the place.  Monday and Tuesday were tough coming off Sunday’s ride and run, but my workouts progressively got better starting Wednesday, and I logged solid sessions throughout the rest of the week.  Tomorrow, we’ll see our final solid effort (a 500-yd. wetsuit-legal time trial Monday morning) before our recovery week begins.

Monday – a.m. swim

Not going to lie, I promptly hopped aboard the pain train Monday morning.  My legs felt fine when I woke up and walked to practice, but as soon as I started to swim, I could tell I wasn’t 100 percent recovered from Sunday’s training.  On paper, the workout wasn’t tough, but it was challenging in the water, especially the 10-minute straight solid swim.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

C’mon, weather—I wanna bike outside!  Similar to previous rides, this 80-minute session centered on solid efforts and leg strength; instead of spinning 90, the number to hit became 75, and since the cadence decreased, the resistance increased.  Whether it’s having another year of experience or logging CompuTrainer rides, I feel physically and mentally stronger when it’s time to “make it sting.”  Plus, when I hit a tough stretch, I remember South Beach is basically five weeks away, put my head down, and get to work.  Our 40 minutes of strength training included corework, BOSU ball squats, walking lunges … and burpees/squat thrusts.  I did not sign up for CrossFit, ha.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Yep, this was the most difficult speedwork session so far:  one-mile warm-up, dynamic stretches/drills, one-mile tempo, and then 8 x 400m repeats.  Things didn’t start to sting until halfway through the sixth one, but then I overcompensated and finished the final three faster than my target pace.  Luckily, the swim wasn’t too bad:  just short of 2,000 yards, and the main set included a pulling pyramid.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

To Connecticut we go!  It makes sense to log a longer swim in a long-course pool, right?  Our 3,000-yard session included tech work and varying intensities during two different pull sets.  When I swim with dudes, I always move to the back of the lane for pulling because I have zero upper-body strength, but I should’ve stayed in the three spot; we were supposed to switch between steady, solid, and race-pace gears, but I ended up pulling steady for the whole set.  Meh, train and learn, right?

Later that afternoon, I headed to Tailwind for a power hour class that zeroed in on lactate threshold efforts with VO2 surges sprinkled in.  Because I was coming off speedwork (and a swim too), I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel, but turning them over was easier than anticipated.

Friday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

This ride was the same as the one we logged on Tuesday, but the strength training after was much tougher:  lots of shoulder, chest, and upper-body exercises.  My coach calls me out time and time again because I don’t use my upper-body as much as I should while swimming—I’m all about the kicking—so building strength has become another goal.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

This two-hour ride doesn’t seem too bad when I look back on it, but I did just wake up from a two-hour nap … so there’s that.  As usual, we started with a longer warm up and high cadence/single-leg drills, and the main set included “over gear” efforts; we had to keep adding gears until our cadence dropped from 90 to 75.  I really liked how this workout was structured:  one minute at 75, four minutes at 90; three minutes at 75, seven minutes at 90; five minutes at 75, 12 minutes at 90; etc.  We ended class with two, nine-minute efforts at race pace.  I’m not sure if it’s due to coming off a rest day, building strength, or what, but I felt great throughout this ride.  And seeing as how my race-pace efforts clocked in at 233 and 260 watts (aka 23 MPH—who am I?!), and I still had gas left in the tank, I hope my numbers have improved.

All right, time trial—I’m coming for you! (Even if my coach gave me an aggressive goal.)

Typically, how long does it take you to recover from races/tough training days?

Cherry Tree 10 Miler (Relay) Recap

Told you I’d write a recap … eventually.

Sunday proved to be one of the best training days I’ve had this season:  two hours on the CompuTrainer at Tailwind Endurance and two legs (totaling 6.75 miles) at the Prospect Park Track Club’s (PPCT) Cherry Tree 10 Miler.

cherry-tree-10-miler-bronx-submariners-jackrabbit

So how did this bike-run day come about?  As you know, Sunday CompuTrainer classes have become regular training sessions this year, and one of my friends from work wanted to celebrate his birthday by running a race. (You know you work at a running store when …) And with SoBe quickly approaching, I need to start bricking—or biking and running soon after—on a regular basis.  Plus, I was not going to miss a birthday brunch.

Anyway, “race” day started with a 5 a.m. wake-up call and a 6 a.m. ride.  During these classes, I’m usually notorious for working outside my zones, but I made a deliberate effort to stick to my power numbers.  And even after putting forth a steady effort on a pre-loaded sprint course (rode 14.73 miles in 48 minutes and averaged 190 watts), I felt like I could run off the bike—which was put to the test about two hours later.

pptc-cherry-tree-10-miler

[source]

My team originally planned to do the three-person relay; three people, 3.3 miles each, no big deal, right?  Well, long story short, one of our runners forgot her tights, so running in 20-degree weather wasn’t an option.  And since our other runner did 20 miles the day before, I “sacked up” and prepared to run two loops.

At this point, my pace plan went out the window.  My coach gave me target splits and an overall finishing time, but since I would be (1) running twice as far as planned and (2) running on a course that wasn’t completely clear, my strategy changed:  push when I could and back off when necessary.

Needless to say, this resulted in the most unevenly-paced run ever (my Garmin flashed values ranging from 6:50 and 9:00), but I proved to myself hitting and holding a respectable pace off the bike isn’t infeasible (when course conditions allowed).  Because my pace was all over the place, I hesitate to call it a tempo run, but my average pace for the 6.75 miles equated to a tempo effort, which is pretty cool.  This was also my first time running in Prospect Park, and it was a great course—straightaways to hammer and hills to suffer up climb.  Oh, and another neat part of the race included a superfan who worked at a water station.  I wore my running store’s singlet, and he immediately recognized it and cheered like crazy.

So the main takeaways from this freezing relay?  I can piece together a semi-respectable 6.75 miles off the bike.  My work friends are awesome.  And brunch tastes so much better after you’ve earned it.

Have you done a relay race?  Or a race in the freezing cold?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of February 10 (Phase One, Week Six)

Whew, where did this week go?  And more importantly, Syracuse is still undefeated!

syracuse-basketball-always-number-one

Yes, I ordered this shirt.

General training notes:  This has definitely been the most productive week of training so far.  We’re logging solid efforts across the disciplines, and I feel like I’m finally starting to get faster.  Even though we’re cranking up the intensity, my body seems to be responding and recovering well.  Knock on wood, I haven’t been sore yet, and I haven’t been craving a rest day—but I still take Saturdays totally off.  And South Beach is only 48 days away!

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Holy efff.  This “speed and pain” set in the pool nearly killed me:  3150 yards, lots of tech work, plus our “Duel in the Pool” (a 50-yard sprint) and 10×100.

duel-in-the-pool

Suffice to say, I was riding the pain train for most of practice.  Somehow, I rallied and ran five steady miles.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

Honestly, this workout didn’t look too bad, but I could tell my legs were still recovering from Monday.  We spent 75 minutes on the bike alternating between hills and solid efforts, and during both intervals, we focused on pushing a big gear and building leg strength.  After a quick wardrobe change, we spent about 45 minutes doing corework, BOSU ball exercises (woohoo for not falling off and face planting!), and plenty of walking lunges.  Again, my legs were toast.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Hands down, this was the toughest team training day of the week.  Our speedwork on the track included one tempo mile, plus some 1200s and 800s, and our pool workout contained a ton of kicking.  The season has just begun, but I remember the speedwork being much more difficult last year; I’m guessing it’s a combination of increased fitness (as compared to this time last year) and more experience.

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Phew, this was killer—and I managed to swim with two coaches in my lane.  The main set included 400s, 200s, and 8 x 100s, and I even lead a few.  The afternoon ride at Tailwind was easier because of Wednesday’s speedwork; we focused on threshold and building to threshold.

Friday – a.m. indoor cycle, strength train, and run

Like Tuesday’s ride, this workout contained solid climbing and aero intervals with active recovery mixed in.  Strength training was upper-body focused, and then I ran a quick mile.  I’m always afraid of forgetting how to run before races (please tell me I’m not the only one who has that nightmare), so I did these four laps for peace of mind.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance plus two legs of the Cherry Tree 10 Miler (6.75 miles)

What a solid training day!  It started with a two-hour ride at Tailwind; the first hour centered on hill work, and for the second hour, we rode a local sprint course (14.73 miles).  Because I had Cherry Tree in a few hours, I held back and didn’t hammer.  That being said, you can’t put me in a race-like situation and except me not to put forth a solid effort.  So I rode “conservatively” and averaged 190 watts.  And for the record, my instructor even commented on how conservative my numbers were.

After a quick smoothie and wardrobe changed, I hopped on the subway and went to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for the Cherry Tree 10 Miler.

cherry-tree-10-miler-bronx-submariners-jackrabbit

Obviously, I didn’t run 10 miles, but I did run more than planned.  Two of my work friends and I signed up for the race as a three-person relay, but one forgot her running tights and didn’t make it.  And since my other friend ran 20 miles yesterday, I stepped up to the plate and ran two legs.  My coach gave me a target pace for the original one-loop plan, but that went out the window because I would be covering more than twice the distance.  When all was said and done run, I logged 6.75 miles, which is my longest run in months.  I’ll probably write a “race” recap later this week because this was my first legit brick workout of the season.  Oh, and then we went to brunch where I ate the most delicious pumpkin pancake.

What was your favorite workout of the week?

 

What I Do When I’m Not Training

… because swimming, biking, and running have taken over my life.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  But let’s be real:  The running, triathloning, and healthy living communities constantly surround me.  After all, I go to practice and then head to work and help others discover this lifestyle too.  With that being said, here’s how I spend my time when I’m not working or working out.

When I’m not training …

… I’m drinking coffee.

starbucks-coffee-carry

I am not a verb!

Please don’t tell me this surprises you.  Early-morning wake-up calls demand pre-workout java, and there’s no way I can ride the subsequent endorphin high all day.  However, I have discovered I can make it to 3:30 p.m. or so before crashing. (Which also means if there are evening plans on the agenda, then I need my second cup around this time.)

… I’m cooking and meal-prepping.  Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Whenever I have 30-45 minutes at home, it’s likely broccoli, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and/or sweet potatoes are roasting.

… I’m watching Downton Abbey and/or Parks and Recreation.

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Seriously two of the best TV shows ever.  Speaking of, happy Galentine’s Day!

parks-and-rec-galentine's-day

… I’m hanging out with coworkers, a.k.a. work friends.

jackrabbit-coworkers-collage

Whether it’s watching them race, grabbing drinks on the weekend, or simply supporting their non-JRab endeavors, I’m so grateful to call them friends.

And eventually, I will write one of those “day in the life” posts.

How do you balance fitness with other activities?  What do you do when you’re not working out?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of February 3 (Phase One, Week Five)

Whew, another Sunday and another week of training complete.  I totally planned to pop in Wednesday or Thursday, but there weren’t enough hours in the day.  And that really stinks because I have about four half-written posts that want to go live.  Let’s see if I can manage my time better this week.

first-annual-full-throttle-endurance-pie-off

And digest all this pie from our first annual pie-off.

General training notes:  With the initial base-building period complete, this current four-week span will incorporate solid/hard efforts across the disciplines, plus swimming and running speedwork.  I really struggled to hold back during past weeks, so it feels good to start pushing—and I know my body can handle it now.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Well, recovery week is definitely over.  Moving forward, Monday’s swim will take the form of “speedwork in the pool,” and this main set was defined by “speed and pain.”  Yes, “speed and pain” were written on the whiteboard.  After warming up and doing a steady 300, we were split up so each lane contained swimmers from every group. (Each lane had a swimmer from fast lane number one, fast lane number two, etc.) Then we went head-to-head with our respective lanemates and raced each 25 yards other—sixteen times.  With five seconds rest.  Woof.  Luckily, the run was easier:  steady five miles, alternating between the track and treadmill.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycling and strength training

This 75-minute ride wasn’t too bad and focused on solid climbing and seated efforts.  “Suffer for three minutes” became the mantra because that’s how the entire bike should feel during South Beach in 55 days.  After, we did some corework, hamstring exercises, plus tons of chest/shoulder strength training with resistant bands.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I kicked off my 24th birthday with speedwork—10 minutes at tempo, plus 4×800 repeats.  Another unexpected birthday present?  I survived an underwater 25 yarder during our swim workout (without fins).  It’s all about progress.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim

Hello, wetsuit!  This was our first wetsuit-optional swim of the season, so we did a lot of interval work, plus several efforts at our race pace.

Friday – a.m. indoor cycling and strength training

Like Tuesday’s spin, this ride included solid intervals and lasted 80 minutes.  The corework was absolutely killer, and we also did some work with resistance bands, plus walking lunges.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Maybe it’s because I’m getting better, or maybe it’s because I sat directly in front of a fan, but this two-hour CompuTrainer ride did not completely kill me.  Broken into 15-20-minute increments, the main sets included build efforts with some sprints/passes sprinkled in.

How did your workouts go this week?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of January 27 (Phase One, Week Four)

So before talking about training … did anyone watch the Syracuse game last night?

syracuse-basketball-beat-duke

No?  It was definitely the best college game I’ve seen this season.  And what a nail-biter—the Orange finally put away the Duke Blue Devils 91-89 in overtime, and it’s safe to say a new rivalry has been born.

Anyway, happy February and Super Bowl Sunday!  This means my first month of structured training with Full Throttle Endurance has ended.  And it also means I turn the big 2-4 on Wednesday.  I did not sign up for this growing up nonsense.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

There was a rumor circulating about a 200-yd. time trial (TT) that proved to be accurate.  Before practice, I dug into my digital archives and found results from last year’s swimming TT where I swam a 2:59; as per usual, as per usual, my goal was to post a better time.  The TT itself was a blur.  The only memorable part occurred when I botched my first flip turn and decided not do those anymore, ha.  My game plan was to swim the first 100 solid and hammer the last 100, and I finished in 2:41, which is decent.  This time was also good enough to bump me up to the next fastest lane, aka fast lane number two.  Sweet!

After the swim (we did a total of 2,800 yards), I did an easy five-mile recovery run:  two miles on the track, two miles on the treadmill, and one more on the track.  I also did some corework with a teammate (who am I?), and we watched coach do the time trial—and casually throw down a 2:13.  One day …

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycling and strength training

Monday’s TT was our only hard effort of the week, and we started the recover process with a steady 75-minute ride on the spin bikes.  There were some climbing and high-cadence efforts sprinkled throughout, but nothing too tough.  We followed it up with some upper-body strength training and ab work.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Wednesdays are usually reserved for speedwork, but we kept the workout light:  one-mile warm-up, dynamic stretches, then three steady miles.  Our swimming workout was on the easier side (2,700 yards), too, which focused on pulling and hypoxic sets.

Thursday – a.m. swim and p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Another Thursday, another road trip to Stamford, CT (in a minivan!) for a long-course swim.  Like Wednesday, we had a lot of kicking, pulling, and hypoxic sets in the mix.  I’m not the best at hypoxic sets, and my coach always gives me a hard time, so I was thrilled when I successfully followed a hypoxic seven breathing pattern (breathing every seven strokes) for 100 yards.  Baby steps, folks!

That afternoon, I headed to Tailwind Endurance for a power hour on the CompuTrainer.  It took me longer than usual for my legs to loosen up (maybe because of the kicking?), and as per usual, this ride was killer:  There were four, five-minute blocks, and each contained endurance and threshold efforts; i.e. we’d start at two minutes endurance, then build to tempo and threshold for three minutes.  It doesn’t sound bad, but with only two minutes down between sets, it was challenging to recover.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

For the record, I would like to say how surprisingly well this two-hour ride went given my lack of sleep (around five hours) and Saturday night “carbo-loading” (red wine plus half of a gin and tonic); in fact, this combination strangely worked.  Dully noted.  Our main set included “watt chasers,” which I strangely enjoy.  The CompuTrainer tracks a ton of data, including average power output or wattage; and during this drill, we worked up to our tempo effort and then stopped pedaling for a set amount of time, which caused average wattage to drop.  And then you have a certain amount of time to get the average back up.

So recovery is over—let’s crank it up!

What are your fitness/training/racing goals for February?