Monthly Archives: June 2015

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 22 (Week 25)

This is a big statement that I haven’t made in a while, but this week I executed all planned workouts—and felt great.

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Trying to be artsy in Central Park for work/‘Gram purposes. It didn’t work.

It finally feels like I’m on the post-bike crash upswing—woohoo!

General training notes: This is the first time in ages where I feel like I’m back across the disciplines. I feel smooth in the water. I feel strong in the saddle. (And I got a bike refit last Sunday, which means more watts! #letstalkwatts) And I feel—dare I say it?—smooth and strong on the run. Time to do work!

Since I’m always honest, I’ll note here I did not start the Stamford KIC It Triathlon.  I hoped to take on this Olympic-distance event as a pre-Nationals tune-up, but I pulled the plug. (Er, did not even plug in?  How does that work?) Although I lost some fitness with my bike crash, my swim and bike have come back relatively quickly, but my run has taken more time. No speedwork (and no bricks) in a month has given my body time to recover, but that is not the ideal way to train for a race that demands running off the bike. Basically, I made this decision in Placid and ran it by my coaching/advising board. Everyone was in agreement that not doing the race was the smart move. For what it’s worth, the swim was cancelled due to thunder/lightning, so it wouldn’t have functioned as an effective tune-up anyway.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Six easy humid miles outside with 5x200m strides, plus upper-body strength training and corework. Fueled with an afternoon cup of coffee, I attacked the masters workout, even though the pool was a complete zoo. (For the swimmers: there were eight people in each lane. Wowza!) In total, we logged 2,900m that consisted of shorter distances (50 and 100m) due to the zoo situation.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

When your coach says you made some “big-a** watts,” you know you crushed the workout. At first glance, the 5×4-min. block didn’t look too daunting, but the gearing progressions, cadence shifts, and power output targets made for a serious leg-buster.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Woof: Fifteen by one-minute efforts at VO2 max with one minute of recovery between. And then there was a “surprise” sixteenth one.

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

Solid 4,350m swim (my longest ever?) with lots of descending 200s, 100s, and 50s. I’m really happy with how I’m feeling in the water these days, and it’s always a good thing when the coach comments on how strong you’re swimming too. That afternoon, I hit Central Park for an easy eight miles. Woohoo for no humidity and no sunburn!

Saturday – p.m. bike

My plans to ride outside with one of my Tailwind buds fell through, and since it rained later in the day, I hopped on my indoor trainer for 70 minutes. Not as long as I would’ve liked, but the ride went by quickly because one of my friends called. That’s a great way to make sure you’re riding in endurance mode—staying in aero while having a phone conversation!

Sunday – a.m. run and strength training

Hands down, this is the best, most effortless run I’ve had post-bike crash. During those steady and blissful 45 minutes in my rain, my legs simply took over. I settled in to my target pace, it felt sustainable, and my legs turned over without a problem. Does this mean I’m officially back? I hope so!

Have you ever “DNS” (did not start) a race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 15 (Week 24)

Oh, it was just another week …

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… that I got to hang out with RICH ROLL.

General training notes: Spending a long weekend training in Lake Placid helped me re-unlock my triathlon mojo, and I was pumped to get after it this week. Overall, my swim and bike are back, but it’s taking longer to “refind” my run fitness. Unsurprisingly, Coach Pat has been supportive and insightful, and we’ve decided to ease off the run intensity and slowly build it back up for a *fingers crossed* strong showing at Nationals in August.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy five miles with 10 strides, plus upper-body strength training and corework. I skipped the Bearcat masters workout because RICH ROLL was hosting a podcast/book launch event in Brooklyn.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Two, 10-minute blocks at my sweet spot wattage. My legs didn’t feel all that great, so I was relieved Coach Pat told me not to brick. (But then I got to run in Central Park with RICH ROLL that night so …)

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

VO2 max fun: 5×1-min. efforts; 3×5-min. efforts; and 1×5-min. efforts. To keep it interesting, there were some hills sprinkled in, which actually made it a bit easier to hit my numbers.

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

I’m back, Bearcats! Everything felt a-OK rib-wise, and it was awesome to log a longer, 3,700m swim. After work, I ran seven miles in Central Park with a colleague. We settled into a nice, easy pace, but I sort of dropped/lost him once we got to Harlem Hill. Whoops!

Saturday – a.m. bike

It wasn’t a long ride in Lake Placid, but it was still pretty close to paradise: wheels went up at 6:30 a.m. and 60 miles were logged.

Sunday – a.m. run

Steady 40 minutes with 10 strides.

Do you plan recovery weeks or are they spur-of-the-moment?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 8 (Week 23)

Lake Placid is paradise.

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And I’m missing it already.

General training notes: It’s no news I’ve been in a triathlon funk since my bike crash, and spending some quality time in Placid helped me refocus and reignite my training. I’m working on a Placid-specific post, but unsurprisingly, the swimming, biking, and running there was perfect. And I was there with a great group of people too, which made the weekend even more memorable.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy five miles with race-paced pick-ups, plus corework and upper body strength training. After work, I rode for an hour at Tailwind on the Ironman Mont Tremblant course because I like hills and pain.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Uneventful and steady 55-minute run outside

Thursday – a.m. long run; p.m. open-water swim IN LAKE PLACID

Eight-mile long run and 1.6-mile open water swim in MIRROR LAKE

Friday – a.m. brick (one loop of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course and one loop around Mirror Lake); p.m. open-water swim

The Placid bike course is incredibly gorgeous and humbling. I was perfectly content to spin out and chat with folks as I re-familiarized myself with the route. We ended up cutting out part of the entire 56-mile loop (local readers, we turned left in Wilmington instead of continuing straight), but still ended the outing with a solid 43.3 miles. I did a short two-mile run after. My legs weren’t too happy, but I was running around Mirror Lake, which made the discomfort totally worth it. Later that afternoon, I hit the water for 1.6 miles.

Saturday – a.m. bike; p.m. open-water swim

As the underachieving short-course triathlete at #WorkLiveTriCAMP, I did another 43.3 miles on the Ironman course while the crazy long-course folks did a full two loops. (However, I did pull my weight by going into town and getting pizza.) And I hit the water again that afternoon for 1.6 miles.

Sunday – a.m. bike

One final solo and blissful ride on the course. Even though I wasn’t biking with target speeds in mind, it was interesting to see how much time I shaved off during the weekend. Friday was more of a social ride, and during this outing I averaged 19 mph—and I was just cruising. Definitely makes me wonder what I could do if I were training for a 70.3 or full …

How do you reenergize your workouts when you’re in a funk?

Five Important Things I Learned From My Bike Crash

So, a little more than three weeks ago, I crashed my bike. My first one of the season and third one ever, this wipeout—in which I bombed down an unfamiliar hill, hit a pothole, and flipped over my handlebars—maintains my average of one accident per year. The lower the number, the better, obviously, but that’s an OK figure all things considered. If you ride, you will fall; it’s a question of “when,” not “if.” Anyway, this one was definitely the most serious: I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. As my first triathlon “injury” that sidelined me for a notable amount of time, I learned a lot from this experience.

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Pre-crash photo because people be creepin’. Please note my peeved expression due to the reroute. Also, RIP Smashfestqueen Ohana kit.  And red Rudy helmet.

My family, friends, and folks in my “triathlon arsenal” are irreplaceable.

Under normal circumstances, I shy away from attention; I keep a low profile, and although I do social/digital media for a living, I did not tweet or ‘gram from the hospital. In fact, aside from my parents and literally two other people, I did not tell anyone about my crash. My friend who came with me to the hospital asked if I wanted her to post on social media, and I said absolutely not. Even though it’s part of the sport, wiping out seems a bit embarrassing, and I didn’t want that kind of attention.

I hoped the crash would remain on the DL, but the news eventually broke. Although I was self-conscious retelling the story, I was extremely grateful for the calls, texts, emails, and messages from friends. This triathlon season has seen a lot of changes—and I’ve only raced once so far!—but times like these illustrate who truly cares. And I feel extremely blessed to have so many great people surrounding me.

Falling gracefully is an art.

Semi-joking, semi-serious. Thanks to my years playing softball and perfecting my sliding skills, I have no issue going down and accepting the fact that exterior damage will be done. (My softball sliding “raspberries” have faded, but aren’t forgotten!) And I suppose previous cycling wipeouts have conditioned me as well.

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PG photo of right hip road rash

Like softball, falling off your bike guarantees road rash, but you can prevent sprains and potential broken bones by keeping your hands off the ground. Again, I learned this lesson playing softball. It may seem counter-intuitive—you want to use your hands to break the fall—but simply getting your hands out of the way can help you shirk serious injuries.

Giving your body time to heal is important—and easier said than done.

After any accident, your body needs time to recover; and I was especially careful to ease back into training due to my mild concussion diagnosis. (The hospital doctors did not prohibit me from training; they just said to take it easy and be careful.) I took Monday completely off, and it was only after talking with coaches that I decided to spin easy Tuesday. And since I felt good during that workout, I did the same thing Wednesday—and tried to run afterward, which was too aggressive. Although I’m good at managing discomfort during workouts and races, the sensations I felt during that run were painful. My right hip ached; my upper back tightened up, and I couldn’t swing my right arm without shooting pain. Spoiler alert: I shut it down.

They didn’t administer x-rays at the hospital, but I’m fairly sure I bruised a rib. Again, I’m extremely lucky there wasn’t further damage, but the rib situation affected workouts. Even during easier sessions, breathing hurt, which caused me to dial back the effort. This was probably a blessing in disguise because I totally would’ve dove back into intense training a few days after the crash. Bottom line, there’s a fine line between discomfort and pain. And thanks to this crash, I’ve become even better at listening to my body (so cliché, I know) and discerning between the two. Overall, it took 2.5 weeks for the pain-to-discomfort transition, and by week three, there was little discomfort.

Focus on what you can do—not what you can’t.

After several failed attempts to swim and run, I felt upset, frustrated, and defeated: Why can’t I do this? Why is this happening to me now? How in the world will I be able to race again?

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I can ride indoors and take goofy #trainerselfies.

After getting these thoughts out of my system, I realized it’s useless to spend energy worrying. As much as I hated to admit it, I accepted the fact that I had little control over the healing process. It would happen in time. Instead, I focused on the controllables, or the things I could do. At first, it was biking, corework, and some strength training. Five days later, I was able to run. It was not smooth, it did not feel great, and it was definitely not fast. My average pace was about 45 seconds slower than normal, but it was my best. And any day you can run is a good day, a fact I appreciate even more now.

Keep the big picture in mind.

Needless to say, I’ve been an emotional, sometimes cranky and irritable roller coaster. Especially after my failed running attempts, my mood plummeted big time. This is justified to an extent, but I did my best to remember the long-term plan. I have a training camp in Lake Placid. I race at the end of the month, and it’s a tune-up. Most likely, I will not be fitter than I was for SoBe, and I’m OK with it. My “A” race isn’t until August. I will be fine.

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Bar fight or bike crash?

I firmly believe everything—in triathlon and life—happens for a reason, and it’s all about perspective. A few days after the crash, one of my work friends and I were chatting, and he raised some good points. (He’s a coach and elite runner so I trust him). Maybe this accident prevented me from peaking too early; maybe this accident helped me avoid a serious injury; maybe this accident happened to give my body some downtime. The reason isn’t totally clear now—and it may never be—and although it affected short-term plans, I trust the process.

After all, it’s going to take more than some road rash to keep me down.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 1 (Week 22)

I’m coming baaaaack!

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“Metabolically efficient” triathlete birthday celebrations

It’s been three weeks since my bike crash, and I’m finally, finally started to feel normal. I’d ping myself around 80-85 percent.

General training notes: More gratitude and more progress. This week, I was able to do all three sports. The rib is the most noticeable during swimming, but otherwise, it seems to be totally fine for biking and only flares up during harder running efforts. My swim and bike conditioning seem to be a-OK, but I’m going to have to work a bit to “re-find” my run fitness.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Five easy miles in the morning and a 2,000m easy-ish swim with the Bearcats after work. I seeded myself a lane lower than normal, and although swimming itself didn’t feel great (the rib was noticeable, but not painful), I was able to hit the intervals without a problem.

Wednesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run outside)

My thoughts during this workout? I’m baaaack! During the 4×6-min. sets at race wattage and three steady miles off the bike, I finally felt like my normal, triathlete self. It was the smoothest and strongest I’ve felt post-crash, and even though the thought of running six solid miles off the bike is intimidating right now, I was really happy with how this session went overall.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

VO2 max fun: sandwiched between two, 5-min. sprint blocks (sprint for 10 seconds, recover for 50, sprint for 20 seconds, recover for 40, etc.) included 4×2 mins. at VO2 max and 2×4 mins. at VO2 max. Even though my numbers weren’t as high as normal, they were still well within the ideal range.

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

Thirty-six hundred meters in the morning with stroke work and broken 300s, plus eight easy miles after work. Normally, this training day wouldn’t be notable, but this time last week I still couldn’t swim, and I only ran three miles. Progress!

Saturday – a.m. run

Easy and rainy five miles

Sunday – a.m. bike

Smashing watts outside for the first time post-crash!

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Even though I felt great during the 45 miles, my bike confidence has wavered—solely on the downhills, which makes sense. The same thing used to happen after spraining ankles during my basketball days: at first, I’d play a more timidly than usual, but I’d forget about it after a while. I’m obviously never going to forget this crash, but hopefully I can get my mind right soon.

How do you restore wavering confidence?