Monthly Archives: April 2016

Triathlon Training Log – Week 21 (April 18)

Right now, I’m off running a 77.7-mile relay race in Central New York. Maybe you’ve heard of it: The Seneca7. I did this race in 2012—wow, that feels like a lifetime ago—and I’m pumped it was able to fit into training/life this year!

Did this week seem like a gritty grind to anyone else? The weekend couldn’t come soon enough!

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Not CNY, but beautiful

General training notes: same old, same old here. Hey, uneventful training is good. Unfortunately, Tailwind Endurance’s new facility will now open May 1; this means, I’ll keep pedaling away solo for a little while longer. Swimming and I have entered the “love” dynamic of our love-hate relationship, and starting next week, I’ll be increasing my pool workouts from two to three per week. And *knock on wood* my body is absorbing and adapting to the increase in run volume well. In fact, I ran twice within 12 hours this week, and the second run felt normal—no signs of fatigue or tightness. Huzzah!

Monday – a.m. indoor trainer ride

Solo VO2 max fun in the form of 15×1-minute efforts with one minute rest between

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

Cruise intervals progressing from endurance pace to half-marathon to 10-K to 5-K. This was the best I’ve execute this workout yet, but there wasn’t a ton of difference between my 10- and 5-K paces—maybe five or 10 seconds.

After work—and after fueling with three bananas throughout the course of the day—I hit the pool for some fast intervals. Our main set included 8x100m with sprints sprinkled in: 25 sprint, 75 easy; 50 sprint, 50 easy; 75 sprint, 25 easy; and 100 sprint. (We had two minutes of full recovery after the first four, and then we repeated the progression.)

Wednesday – a.m. indoor trainer ride; p.m. run

Another VO2 max leg buster: 6×3 minutes with one minute rest. I did the first three at natural cadence (93-95 RPMs) and overgeared (55-65 RPMs) for the final three. After work, my coworker ran along Central Park’s Bridal Path for 40 minutes. It was the perfect way to end the day!

Thursday – a.m. run

Here’s a new one: recovery hill run. Right? Per Earl’s instructions, I ran four repeats of Cat Hill at the “slowest, easiest pace possible.” Better yet, my legs felt great; there were no signs of yesterday’s run even though it occurred less than 12 hours ago.

Friday – a.m. indoor trainer ride and strength train

Easy, hour-long spin with lots of high cadence work to keep the legs fresh for the weekend. I followed it up with my normal strength training circuit and corework.

Saturday – off (travel day to Geneva, NY)

Sunday – Seneca7

I’m covering 12.4 miles today! Full “race” recap to come.

Have you ever done a relay race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 20 (April 11)

Spring has finally sprung in New York City.

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Cherry blossom bliss in Central Park

It’s about time!

General training notes: woah, this recovery week totally snuck up on me. We backed off the intensity across the disciplines for the most part. Tuesday’s swim contained some faster intervals, but I’ve also demoted myself as far as lanes go, so they didn’t feel too bad. All my rides were easy, and fingers crossed, Tailwind Endurance should be open next weekend! Finally, Operation: Increase Run Volume is going well. In total, I logged 24.75 miles this week, all of which were easy, smooth, and most importantly, injury-free.

Monday – a.m. indoor trainer ride

Easy, 70-minute spin with lots of cadence work. This was one of those workouts where I felt a little stiff getting on the bike—thanks to last weekend’s high training volume—but felt much better at the end.

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

I did my normal 3×12 minutes again, but instead of hitting my projected race pace, I kept it at endurance effort as per recovery week. After work, I went masters practice, and although my legs were not pleased with the 8×50 kick set following a 7.75-mile morning run, the rest of the workout went well. Our pyramid started at 100m and progressed down to 75m, 50m, and 25m and then went back to 100m. And I somehow ended up leading the lane again.

Wednesday – a.m. indoor trainer ride; p.m. run

Repeat of Monday’s ride: another easy 70-minute spin-out. After work, I met up with one of my friends for an easy four-miler along Central Park’s Bridal Path. (For the non-NYC folks, this is similar to a trail run on dirt and gravel, a.k.a. not concrete.)

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Like last week, I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to a relatively short turnaround, but they felt much better this time. I will say it’s much easier to keep the pace, well, easy when I run twice in 12 hours. After, I did some strength training and corework.

Friday – off

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

Shining sun, perfect temperature—I didn’t want to stop after six miles in Central Park. Although difficult to be disciplined, I shut down the recovery run at the prescribed time. Sometimes following instructions is the worst.

Swimming and I are at a good place right now, so I was actually looking forward to this masters workout. We did a lot of freestyle tech work, which I appreciated, and eventually built up to a main set of 4x100m, 2x200m, and a time trial 400m. The goal was to hit and hold the same pace for each block. This is totally my game. In the water, I excel at dialing into an effort and holding it for, oh, 1500m. I was pretty pumped I was the only one who negative split the 400m interval, but the Russian swim coach made a cameo appearance, and he wasn’t impressed. He said to tell him when I get my 400m time in the four-minute ballpark. Sigh

Sunday – a.m. indoor trainer ride

Long story short, my #WingedFootLyfe life insurance hasn’t kicked in yet, so even though today was a perfect long-ride day, I made the responsible decision to stay indoors and grind it out for 2:20 on the indoor trainer. It wasn’t so bad because I binged-watched Nashville. My office is crazy about it, so my “homework” is to get caught up. Luckily, my boss let me borrow his DVD sets for seasons one, two, and three.

What’s your favorite TV show these days? Not that I’ll be able to watching anything else for a while, but still …

2016 Armory NYC Indoor Marathon Recap

This past weekend, I ran my first marathon—as part of a relay team known as the Flat Feet Social Club. (Check that link—race organizers interviewed us!) Comprised of endurance athletes, our group convenes for quirky events and turns off our collective competitive switch. Having fun at the inaugural Armory NYC Indoor Marathon was our top priority, but we still finished third in our division. (There were options to run the 26.2 miles as an all-male, all-female, or mixed relay.)

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What a bunch of 3:15 marathoners look like–when each person runs 6.5 miles.

At first glace, this seems like a crazy event. After all, who would willingly run a marathon around a 200m indoor track? That’s 211 laps! But endurance cray cray loves company, and when my friend proposed the idea, I didn’t shoot it down right away.  In fact, I was intrigued.  A team relay, the 26.2 miles would be broken up four ways. ‘OK, I can handle 6.5 miles on a track.’ Plus, since we were going into the race with zero time goals, I could treat it as a workout. And if this was going to be a solid sportz day, then asking my coach for permission to brick—and riding on my indoor trainer beforehand—seemed like an even better idea.  So I may be a little endurance cray cray …

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Round and round we went.

A few logistical notes:  there were more than 500 athletes registered  (either solo or as part of a two-, four-, six- or eight-person relay), and to avoid congestion, each team selected a date and time to run. The event started Friday morning and continued through Sunday, and although Flat Feet Social Club originally signed up for the “graveyard” shift from 6-9:30 a.m. on Saturday, we ultimately ran at 9:30 a.m. (We also considered the Friday evening shift from 8 p.m. to midnight, but one of our members had a work commitment.) For the relay division, each person could run a total of three times, so we decided to break up the individual workload into 20 loops, 20 loops, and 10 loops.  And during the race itself, each runner wore a bib and affixed a timing chip to their ankle (á la triathlon), and there was an exchange zone sectioned off with cones. There were timing mats at the start and end of the exchange zone that registered who was running and their split.

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It felt weird to be wearing a timing chip and not have a bunch of swimming and cycling gear with me too.

All right. I could write a play-by-play of every loop or mile or leg, but instead, I’ll share a few takeaways that made the experience memorable.

The DJ was on point.  If you have 18 or so relay teams running in a circle for hours on end, then the music has to keep everyone pumped.  There were a lot of top-40 tunes, but one of my favorite moments was when Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream” played. During my high school basketball days, that song was our theme song during sectionals. I loved remembering those times, and I also loved how I was running, and Tom Petty was singing about running down dreams.

Race logistics were smooth, especially given the relay component and inaugural event status. My team totally overthought the whole keeping track of laps aspect—we talked about buying a whiteboard and marking off loops—but we eventually realized we could use the lap feature on our Garmins. (Who said all triathletes are tech geeks?) The hand-off section was clearly marked on the track, and there were various screens that displayed time, distance, and laps to go. We didn’t look at them a ton given our self-described “non-competitive” status, but it was neat seeing how we stacked up against everyone else.

I viewed the “race” as a workout; I went in very loose and without a pace plan other than to run on feel. (I had my Garmin, but only used it to count laps.) Plus, being on a 200m track provided valuable race simulation experience. I practiced reeling in people ahead of me and made a conscious effort to focus on form. I hung tough when rough mental patches arrived (like when I was ready to be off the track after 10 laps during my first stint).

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Somehow, I managed to not get any official race photos, but this is a screen shot from a video clip one of my teammates took.

And overall, it was a great workout:  I covered the 6.5 miles in 48 minutes (7:23 min./mi.). The track was fast, and I felt smooth, strong, and in control of the effort the entire time. And this feeling gives me confidence I can hit and hold a similar pace when I run off the bike at Nationals.

Bottom line, the Flat Feet Social Club had a blast, and we plan to return next year—and we’re also researching our next relay. (Hint: there’s camping involved.)

I should mention that although we didn’t stick around for the individual marathon heats, both the men’s and women’s indoor records were broken. One of our NYAC runners smashed the women’s record and ran a 2:44:44!

Have you completed an indoor and/or relay event? What did you think?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 19 (April 4)

Does anyone else need to a weekend from the weekend? This one flew by!

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Sportz, sports, sportz

General training notes: lots of stuff to talk about this week. First and foremost, Tailwind Endurance is still in the process of getting settled into its new location, which means I’m doing indoor training rides solo (and also suffering from severe Tailwind withdrawal). On the plus side, I get to sleep for an extra half hour, but I miss seeing my coach and people in the mornings. Fingers crossed the facility will be rocking and rolling next week.

Second, after having a heart-to-heart with Earl, we decided to increase my run volume. I’m currently hovering around 20-25 miles per week, and the goal will be to get up to 30—slowly and safely, of course. That number is a scary because I typically run 30 miles per week when I’m training for a half-marathon; thirty miles is a substantial run load for me. But I trust Earl, I trust the process, and I know the only way to become a better, more efficient runner is to run more. And unfortunately, that in turn means backing off the strength training. So overall, I’ll be adding an extra run each week and removing one lifting session.

Monday – a.m. indoor trainer ride

Tailwind Endurance withdrawal is so real; doing 15×1-minute VO2 max intervals by yourself just isn’t as fun. *Sigh*

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

Take two of the 3×12 minutes at race pace—and this one went much, much better. Because this was my second time completing the workout, it wasn’t as intimidating, and I knew what I was facing. Like last week, I got it done on the ‘mill and logged eight miles total.

After work, I went to swim practice and somehow ended up leading my lane! Following a shorter warm-up and tech work, we tackled a pyramid that began with one 100 and progressed from 75s to 50s to 25s and then went back up the ladder. I was elected to set the pace because I am a “triathlete and super consistent and that’s the difference between pool swimmers and triathletes.” But that also meant I had to do math to ensure we kept the correct intervals.

Wednesday – a.m. indoor trainer ride; p.m. run

Another toughie that would’ve been more fun with Tailwind buds: 6×3 minutes at VO2 max with one minute rest between.

As I mentioned, Earl wants to increase my run volume, so we’re slowly adding another run/mileage each week. I made plans to run with one of my tri buds after work, and one of my new coworkers joined us! (Woohoo for making friends!) We hit the Bridal Path in Central Park and had a nice 40-minute “yog.”

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

It was tough turning around in less than 12 hours and running again; I’ve become used to running on fresh legs, and the fatigue was noticeable. Not detrimental, but definitely noticeable. My legs slowly loosened up over the course of seven miles, but I felt it even more during my strength training routine. Earl said to go even lighter this week, and if I’m being honest, I thought I’d be fine to do my normal lift, but this is why you have a coach. My legs were dunzo.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. indoor trainer ride; a.m. Armory Indoor Marathon; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for sportz Saturdays! First, I hopped on my trainer for an easy 60-minute ride to spin out and wake up my legs before our indoor marathon relay. Nothing noteworthy to report here: lots of cadence drills and zone two time.

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Snapchat fun. It was bizarre to wear this type of timing chip without a wetsuit–it screams triathlon!

Then I headed way uptown for the inaugural Armory NYC Indoor Marathon. One of my triathlon buds had this idea a few months ago, and we were able to get a team of four together to take on 26.2 miles around a 200m track. We had a blast! I’ll definitely write a “race” recap, but I covered my 6.5 miles in 48 minutes. (Although I hoped to squeeze in a masters swim too, we didn’t finish post-race brunch in time. #priorities)

Sunday – a.m. indoor trainer ride; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Long and steady two hours in the saddle, followed by a 4,000m swim with the Bearcats. Currently ready for food and a nap/bedtime. A most successful Sunday!

Have you ever done an indoor race or event?

‘Training’ for Life

In the run-specialty industry, it’s common to hear sales associates ask customers about their goals: “what are you training for?” is a great prompt to kick off a shoe fitting. Some folks easily articulate their upcoming races while others struggle to identify themselves as runners. For a lot of people, lacing up isn’t about performance, but rather lifestyle—staying active and trying to balance being fit with living life. This principle led to the conceptualization of “training for life” at my old job, a phrase we used in the store. Customers seemed to like it. Or, maybe they humored us. Either way, a lot of the feelings we experience, obstacles we face, and challenges we overcome while sweating prepare us for the uncontrollables we face throughout the course of the day when our workouts are over.

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Central Park bliss

A few weeks ago, I had a great long run in Central Park. I executed my workout, and I felt great during my intervals. I also got some great headspace during my recovery periods; my mind wandered to the beginning of #WingedFootLyfe as my first day was less than 24 hours away. Starting a new job was relatively uncharted territory for me, but training, racing, and competing have been part of my life for 15 years. The more I thought about it, though, the more they seemed similar.

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Inspiration is inspiration

In my training logs, I’ve bemoaned the amount of time I’ve spent in zone two, but it really is an important piece of the puzzle. You can’t go from zero to 100; you need to slowly increase time, frequency, and intensity. For all intensive purposes, #TheRabbitLife was my worklife zone two time. (I’m skipping over college and internships here, but both could fall into this zone as well.) It was my first real job out of college, and I learned a lot—how a company functions, what I value in a workplace, etc. I had the opportunity to work within various facets of the run-specialty world. And thanks to last year’ acquisition, I had the opportunity to work for two different companies essentially.

It was the transition from company number one to company number two when I slowly inched out of zone two and work became more intense: my amount of responsibility increased, my opinions meant more, and ultimately, my colleagues held me to higher standards. And, of course, our key events—the main one being the New York City Marathon—represented slight “touches” to VO2 max work. Over the years, this time “in the red”—operating under tight deadlines and unrelenting pressure—felt increasingly routine. I became comfortable and confident executing campaigns; it equated to muscle memory. I knew exactly what was important, what needed to happen, and how it needed to happen.

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It’s not about the hard work—it’s about the right work.

As I’ve experienced from my triathlon training this year, it’s absolutely important to spend time doing the not-so-glamorous workouts. And that’s OK because training prepares you for something greater. But eventually, you need to challenge yourself; the magic doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. #TheRabbitLife served as nearly three years of training, growing, and figuring things out. And thanks to my experience there, I felt comfortably uncomfortable taking the next step in my career.

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Before that happened, though, I “tapered,” took some downtime, and headed to Sanibel to spend time with my family. I relaxed and recuperated—and became reenergized for the next training block. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my worklife thus far. And much like race-day taper crazies, I did go a little nuts toward the end (mainly due to all the shopping for corporate clothing).

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There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

But back to that run. I entered that meditative headspace easily. And as I cruised along the lower loop, my legs responded; they opened up, they knew what to do. And as I powered up Harlem Hill, my legs reacted; they turned over. A sense of calm confidence set in. ‘Tomorrow is race-day. I am ready.’

Triathlon Training Log – Week 18 (March 28)

Yesterday’s severe winds caused my Internet to go down. Currently blogging and posting from a café on my lunch break …

Let’s sum up the last seven days of training: super, super solid.

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Smashing watts

General training notes: things clicked across all platforms this week. I’m settling into work well, and that definitely impacted my training in a positive way. Biking always feels good, and I was really happy with how I felt swimming and running this week. It’s coming together!

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Another Sufferfest set of 15×1 minute at VO2 max with one minute recovery. Last week, I struck around 85-87 RPMs, which lead to lactic acid build-up after seven or eight intervals. So this time, I aimed for a higher cadence (95-100 RPMs) and felt much smoother and stronger.

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

Well, this run could’ve gone better. I faced 3×12 minutes at my desired Olympic-distance pace, which I decided to do on the treadmill. The first two felt fine (three minutes of easy running between), but on the third repeat, I got stir-crazy and wanted off the ‘mill ASAP. Again, the pace felt fine, but it was bizarre how quickly my mind turned. Maybe it was because I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on the treadmill and this ended up being almost an eight-mile workout? I don’t know. I pulled myself together and completed my strength training program afterward though.

After work, I hit up my first nighttime Bearcat swim workout in months—and everyone asked what I was doing there, ha! There were about 35 folks split between four lanes, so we did a lot of shorter, 50m, 75m, and 100m repeats. Every time I get in the water, I feel better, so hopefully I can find that top-end speed soon. In total, we logged 2,400m.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

The final ride at the downtown Tailwind Endurance was a toughie, but a goodie: 2×20-minute builds with the opening five minutes going from tempo to threshold, then holding steady there for 15 minutes. The facility is moving uptown, so until it’s back in business sometime mid-month, I’ll be spending a lot of quality time on my trainer (especially since the NYC weather refuses to cooperate for training purposes).

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Blissful five-mile shakeout and strength training

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. trainer ride; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

As said above, I hoped to ride outside, but that didn’t happen thanks to the rain/wind combo. So I took it to my trainer for two hours. Not glamorous, but it got done.

Later that afternoon, I spent 1.5 hours of quality time in the water. We faced longer sets this practice—think 300s and 400s—and I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth everything felt.

Sunday – p.m. run

A wind advisory warning prompted me to push my run to 3 p.m., and those 10 miles felt amazing—absolutely blissful.

How did your workouts go this week?