Monthly Archives: May 2016

Triathlon Training Log – Week 26 (May 23)

All in all, it was another great week.

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Not NYC

My sister graduated from college yesterday (waaah!), and it was so nice to spend the day with the family. The last time I saw everyone was back in March before #WingedFootLyfe began, which was way too long ago. We had a great (and hot—97 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact) day together!

General training notes: it’s almost here—my first triathlon of the season takes place next weekend! With that in mind, this was the last “normal” training week—plus tomorrow’s brick—before we taper slightly for Rev3 Quassy. Things seem to be progressing nicely, and Quassy will serve as a nice check-in point to ensure everything is on track.

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Hands down, this was the toughest VO2 max workout I’ve done in a while. A “graduate course in VO2 max work,” in the words of Earl, this ride contained three main intervals, each with a mix of threshold and VO2 max efforts, and all with little to zero rest. The most challenging block was number two: one minute at threshold, 30 seconds at VO2 max, and 30 seconds at threshold—three times through with no recovery until complete. Wowza.

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

Eight-ish miles of cruise intervals starting at endurance and building to 10-K pace. I found myself horizontal on the couch after work and almost didn’t make it to swim practice, but once I got in the water, I was so glad I was there. We tackled a pyramid workout with 25s, 50s, 75s, and 100s, and once again, I led the lane. Good thing or bad thing if I’m more stressed about doing math versus making the intervals? Ha!

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Wednesday was when the humidity arrived, which made this threshold ride much more challenging. For 15 minutes, I rode three minutes at 90 percent and two minutes at 102 percent, rested for five minutes, and repeated. The added moisture in the air meant I felt this in my lunges more than my legs—and it didn’t let up as the day progressed. After work, I met one of my friends for an easy and super sweaty four miler in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. run

Humid and sweaty hill recovery run in Central Park: I warmed up for three miles and then did six super easy repeats of Cat Hill. I’ve been loving doing my run workouts in the park because I always see so many familiar faces. It’s a great way to start the day!

After work, I went to see my friend for a sports massage—and it was definitely the most painful one I’ve had in a while. Thanks to my training load and intensity, I had more hot spots than usual, but she was able to work out the knots and flush everything out.

Friday – p.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park)

Thanks to Memorial Day, we had early release from work, so I hit Tailwind around 3 p.m. for some sportz fun. When I showed up at Tailwind, my Flat Feet Social Club guys were there making watts—it was such a nice surprise! Anyway, this brick went well overall. In the saddle, my mains set included three, 10-minute intervals: five-minute build from tempo to VO2 max and then five minutes at sweet spot. My legs felt fresh and springy, which was probably due to Thursday’s massage, and the run actually went OK too. All day, I worried how the heat and humidity—it was around 80 degrees Fahrenheit—would affect my run. I started off on the conservative side and built the effort from there, but kept my heart rate in check. I’m still getting the hang of these progression runs—holding back at first and then finding the next gears—but I felt much more in control this time.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. strength train

Completed my normal full-body routine and did some corework

What are your Memorial Day plans?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 25 (May 16)

All in all, things are going pretty well over here.

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and coffee. I always need coffee.

Maybe one of these days I’ll have a non-training post to share, but to be honest, swimming, biking, and running is taking up nearly all of my time outside of #WingedFootLyfe—but I wouldn’t want it any other way right now.

General training notes: after taking it easy last week, I was pumped to get back after it and log some quality efforts. As per usual, my week started off with relatively intense workouts that tapered off as Thursday and Friday approached. And in the words of my boss, I had another “monster” training weekend. T-minus two weeks until Rev3 Quassy!

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Back to putting in work—and putting out serious watts. The 6×3 minutes at VO2 max workout has become a staple, which is nice because every week I can see improvement in terms of output and feel stronger in terms of effort. Tailwind actually hosted an evening event, so I had a crowd cheering me on. It was especially funny when one of the coaches came over and started to chat *during* one of the intervals—and we carried on a conversation. “Carrie’s VO2 max is like everyone else’s zone two,” he said. That made my night!

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

This week, I played around with my morning routine: I took a crazy early train uptown to Tailwind, brought my adult clothes, did my workout in Central Park, and then got ready for work at Tailwind. I tackled 3×12 minutes at race pace along a rolling route in the park and felt strong overall. It helped seeing a ton of friends out there and getting after it too!

After work, I rallied hard to make it to masters practice, and our main set was a descending pyramid with 25s, 50s, and 100s. (Again, the pool has been packed, so we stick to shorter sets.) I found myself in charge of the lane for a bit too!

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

I had plans after work, so this was another early watt-making morning. Earl programmed a push/pull workout: during a 15-minute set, I alternated between two minutes at 102 percent and three minutes at 90 percent (no recovery until the 15-minute mark). This was one of the tougher workouts I’ve done in a while, but Earl told me to think about it as a racing practice—the efforts at 102 percent were surges, and the time at 90 percent is my target race output.

Thursday – a.m. strength training; p.m. run

Completed my normal full-body program with corework and ran an easy six miles after work with a coworker. Within five minutes of being in Central Park, I saw three friends, one of whom my coworker knew too—what a small world!

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another Saturday, another day full of sportz. My morning began at Tailwind for a hour-long ride that contained three, five-minute builds (tempo to threshold to VO2 max), plus two, 10-minute blocks at Olympic-distance race wattage. I could feel myself “burning matches” and was anxious how my four-mile progression run off the bike would go. Earl wanted me to “shake out” the first mile—or run it relatively easy—and then negative split the run with mile four clocking in 30 seconds faster than mile one. Since I was holding way back at the beginning, I struggled to find my rhythm and feel smooth—and when I did, it was time to shut down the run, ha! This was much more of a strategic run: I focused on building the effort every mile as opposed to hitting my race pace immediately and holding it. We’re still very much in the information gathering phase, so we’ll play around with my run pacing strategy more in the upcoming months.

I finished the day with a monster (for me) 4,000m Bearcat masters swim. I loved the 6×400 main set, but I was totally dunzo for the rest of the day.

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

Since moving to the Upper West Side, Tailwind hosts more of these “Velo Bricks” that allow athletes to log a quality ride on the CompuTrainer and then immediately run off the bike in Central Park. Saturday’s workout was a Velo Brick, and this was another tough one. The CompuTrainer was set on erg mode—meaning the resistence is automatically loaded, and you must control it with your cadence—and we completed three sets: set one contained three-minute intervals with equal rest at 105, 107, and 19 percent; set two had two-minute intervals at 110, 112, and 114 percent; and set three consisted of one-minute intervals at 115, 120, and 125 percent. On its own, this is a challenging ride—but doing an hour-long run off it? Sheesh. Let’s just say running slow enough for a long run was not a problem today, ha!

What did you do this weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 24 (May 9)

To sum up my weekend:

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So many hanging bikes

There was a lot of this.

General training notes: hello, recovery week! As to be expected, intensity decreased across the disciplines during the weekdays. Biking easy especially felt good, and my body definitely needed it. On Saturday and Sunday, though, Earl programmed not one, but two bricks for double the sportz fun—and they went really well!

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy 70-minute spin-out with plenty of single-leg and high cadence drills

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

Easy cruise intervals (3×12 minutes) along the West Side Highway for a total of 7.25 miles. It was a total zoo at Bearcat practice—there were at least eight people in our lane—so we did shorter sets (25s, 50s, and 75s) with lots of hypoxic breathing work. I led the lane (!!!) and got into a good groove when we had to breathe every five strokes, but I couldn’t make seven and nine happen. And so continues my #wannabeswimmer saga …

Wednesday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Repeat of Monday’s 70-minute ride

Thursday – p.m. run

Easy six miles after with a friend and coworker. Central Park was absolutely perfect—sunny and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit—and totally packed. Tourists riding rented bicycles make me nervous!

Friday – a.m. strength train

Normal full-body strength training routine with some corework

Saturday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

In this edition of Sportz Saturday, I had an easier 70-minute ride programmed and then a quality run with race-paced efforts. Unfortunately, the guy I ran with last week was riding/bricking long, so we weren’t able to sync up. Our workout went really well before, and I worried about whether I’d be able to hit the pace on my own—but I did! It took about 13 minutes for my legs to feel “normal,” but I was able to stay focused and execute. We’re getting to where we need to be!

Later that afternoon, I went to a nearly empty Bearcat practice. (Saturday was our first truly nice spring day, so most folks were probably outside enjoying it.) Like last week, I wore my Blueseventy core shorts and somehow managed to get my legs to work for 4,000m. Sheesh.

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

Because smashing one brick wasn’t enough … ha! Today, I logged a quality 70-minute bike workout with lots of threshold efforts before heading out to Central Park for an easy hour-long run. This was easily the best run I had all week, but that’s probably because I was warmed up from the bike … and running easy, of course.

What was your best workout this week?

2016 Seneca7 Recap

On April 23, I returned to my old college stomping grounds in Geneva, NY with six New York City friends for the annual Seneca7. (Sidebar: I can’t believe this race happened nearly one month ago! Time sure does fly.)

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Lakeside at Camp Hoho

I’ve referenced this seven-person, 77.7-mile relay on the blog a few times, and last month’s outing was my first time doing it since 2012—a.k.a. my senior year of college. Now that seems like a lifetime ago!

That race four years ago easily makes it onto my “best days ever” list, but even so, I struggled to field a team and head back to the Finger Lakes region. For the past few years, the Seneca7 fell on the same weekend as the South Beach Triathlon. And although the majority of my NYC friends are runners and triathletes, it was tough to find seven humans who could commit tin February to a race in April. Luckily, though, our schedules worked out, and “Joe Paulik’s Inaugural Fun and Senexy” (it’s an inside joke) was one of the 283 groups who made the cut; when registration opened, it sold out in 31 minutes! When I did this race in 2012, there were about 1,200 runners compared to the nearly 2,000 this year. Clearly, the Seneca7 has become well known over the past four years, and I wondered if this growth would affect race day. Spoiler alert: it was an amazing day.

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Each race medal has the leg engraved (1, 2, etc.) so you can collect all seven!

As our team organizer/head Sherpa, I was responsible for pre-, during, and post-race logistics including, but not limited to getting a rental car, making hotel reservations, and navigating our minivan through Upstate New York. The drive from NYC to Geneva was uneventful, but long; we left around 9:30 a.m. and arrived at the pre-race briefing site at 3:30 p.m. I was really looking forward to the trail mix bar, but most of it was gone by the time we got there, which is totally our own fault. Packet pick-up went smoothly, and Jeff Henderson, the race director, kept everyone laughing during the race briefing. He definitely had the line of the weekend: “There are not enough port-a-potties in the state of New York for this race.”

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Buncha port-a-potties because we “can’t get enough!”

We grabbed an early dinner at one of the restaurants downtown, and I took everyone on a tour of campus. And that’s when worlds collided: being back on campus four years removed from graduation with friends from NYC. It was crazy to think back to where I was four years ago, what I was doing, what my goals were, and where I ended up.

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Ah, Quad life …

Just like the Armory Indoor Marathon, our number one priority for the Seneca7 was having fun. Everyone on the team was a runner, but we were at very different fitness levels. Case in point: one girl ran a 3:25 at Boston while another hadn’t laced up since December. So for us, the day centered on hanging out, having fun, and doing a little running.

For us, race day began at 6:45 a.m. Like years past, start times were staggered based on projected paces, and I selected a conservative 9:30 min./mi. team average. I wanted to start as early as possible because we’d be making the drive back to NYC immediately afterward. In the end, we averaged 8:25 min./mi., although we received a penalty too much of a differential between our projected pace and actual pace/finish time. We were pleasantly surprised with our average, and although receiving the penalty was a bummer, it didn’t break the day—it was all about having fun. The high-energy start line and the super friendly volunteers set the tone for the day, and I even reconnected with several college classmates and a few tri friends.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Seneca7, each team of seven covers a total of 77.7 miles around Seneca Lake, a.k.a. the mileage is divided up. And since it’s a relay-style race, you don’t log your entire mileage in one stint: runner one runs and passes off the slap bracelet to runner two; runner two runs and passes off the slap bracelet to runner three; etc. This cycle repeats three times as the team makes its way around the lake.

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Exchange point at mile 37.8: Clute Park in Walkins Glen

Each person covers somewhere between nine and 15 miles, and as runner six, I logged 12.4 miles total. When discussing the pace plan with Earl, we determined each leg was essentially its own race: my first leg (4.6 miles) was flat and fast; my second (4.9) was a gradual climb; and my third (2.5) was rolling. And the goal was to run each as fast as possible. As to be expected, the terrain affected my pace—my first and flat leg was the fastest, and my second and hilly leg was the slowest—but I averaged 7:50s for the 12-ish miles. Also, breaking up the mileage and running it relay-style added an extra challenge: sitting in a car and then running on fatigued legs. On my third outing, my legs felt totally trashed—but it was great practice for running off the bike, ha. It made me wonder if the cycling teams—the folks who *biked* around the lake instead of drove—were onto something!

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Grinding it out on hilly leg number two. Imma runner?!

Overall, it was a super fun day, and we’re already looking forward to heading back next year.

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Unpictured: delicious post-race chili, cornbread, and homemade chocolate chip cookies

Have you completed a relay race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 23 (May 2)

I hoped this post would go live yesterday, but the day totally got away from me.

With my first race of the season less than one month away, we’ve reached the point where my non-work life revolves around training.

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Except when I’m able to escape the city for the day and visit a friend’s new digs in New Jersey, a.k.a. what I did yesterday.

Logging two workouts per day is normal, and on the weekends, we’re seeing high volume across the disciplines. Although I’m tempted to comment on “dialing in” or “locking in” efforts and paces, Earl shut down that notion on Saturday. While recapping the bike-run brick, Earl used the metaphor of a sponge to describe the process we’re undergoing right now. A sponge has two sides, I need to be porous; I need to absorb the training. We’re in a data collection phase, so I need to let things happen. The sponge also had a rough side, and Earl said we have plenty of time to go hard and force workouts—but that time is not now.

General training notes: the countdown is on—t-minus one month until my first race of the season! It seems like I’ve been training for a while, so it will be nice to do some sportz and see where we stand. This fact has given me a renewed sense of urgency and desire to execute my workouts—and my workouts are also becoming more race-specific too.

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at (the new) Tailwind Endurance

Due to my commute and work schedule, my bike workouts will take place during the evenings. As a morning person, I’m a little bummed about this change, but we reached the point in the training cycle where I’ve broke away from my long-course buddies; even if we rode together, we’d be doing very different workouts. My post-work smashfest included 15×1-minute efforts at VO2 max, and I felt great.

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

Rainy run in Central Park with 3×12 minutes at projected race pace (eeeek!) for seven miles total, plus an evening swim with my Bearcat buds. We completed a ladder with a ton of 25s, 50s, and 75s and logged 3,050m total.

Wednesday – a.m run; p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy four-mile shakeout run along the West Side Highway. My legs felt OK coming off two quality workouts the day before, but it took about 20 minutes for them to loosen up. After work, I did a “happy hour” workout of 6×3 minutes at VO2 max at Tailwind. The first three repeats were at natural cadence (right around 93 RPM), and the second three were overgeared (55-60 RPMs). It went well overall, and I felt even better after Earl said he liked what he saw.

Thursday – p.m. run

Easy six miler along the Bridal Path and Reservoir after work

Friday – a.m. strength train

Completed my normal full-body routine and some corework

Saturday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and outdoor run); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for another edition of Sportz Saturday! The fun started with a 70-minute ride at Tailwind Endurance. Because I’ve been doing my weekday rides after work, this was the first time I saw “my people” in a while. This reunion was awesome! The high energy contributed to a great workout that contained three builds from tempo to threshold to VO2 max. Per usual, I felt strong on the bike, but my run workout made me anxious: on Central Park’s West Side rollers, including Harlem Hill, Earl wanted me to crank out 3×10 minutes at my projected Olympic-distance race pace.

Luckily, one of my training buds was running at the same speed—he’s training for Eagleman 70.3 and going after a Kona slot #perspective—and he asked if I wanted to run together. Uh, yes please! Although I’ll race alone, I was really glad to run with another person as I get used to this off-the-bike effort. Beforehand, we established the pace, acknowledged neither one of us were talkers (ha!), and I was also adamant about him taking off if he was feeling good, especially since I struggle to hit my goal race off right off the bike. (It usually takes me about 1.5 miles to settle in.) By sticking together, though, we locked in the opening mile at 7:32. My legs didn’t feel great just yet, but the effort felt right. He started building his effort once we were 15 minutes into the workout, it really helped me mentally to have someone I was running “with” as I logged these intervals. I was able to keep him in my sights for the majority of the run, and during our recovery, he would backtrack and run with me. Aside from a cramp that arose during my third interval, this brick went well, especially considering it was my first time running off the bike at race pace and on a hilly course.

Later that afternoon, I hit the water for a Bearcat masters workout. We did a lot of longer sets—300s and 400s—and I wore my Blueseventy core shorts because I wasn’t sure what to expect from my legs after the brick. A total of 3,700m went in the bag, and it was a great training day!

Sunday – a.m. run

Repeat of last Sunday’s workout: four-mile warm-up, then a loop of the Reservoir and a loop along the Bridal Path in the same amount of time. (For the non-NYC folks, the Reservoir is flat and fast while the Bridal Path has some hills and measures slightly longer.) After Saturday’s brick, it look a while for my legs to loosen up, but during the main set, I ran the two loops within three seconds of each other—so success!

Also, I ran nearly 34 (healthy) miles this week—huzzah!

Do you prefer doing tough workouts solo or with someone?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 22 (April 25)

Well, I didn’t run around Seneca Lake this weekend.

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A little #latergram action. I’ll get around to writing the race report … eventually, ha.

But Saturday saw my first brick of the season, and it went really well!

General training notes: all in all, this was another solid and uneventful training week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s workouts were easier due to Sunday’s Seneca7 mileage, but my body recovered pretty quickly. I had a great progression run Thursday, and my first brick went really well. Also, Tailwind Endurance is up and running at its new location, and I can’t wait to get back to smashing watts with my people!

Monday – p.m. run

After Sunday’s race, we immediately drove back to New York City, and it was a late night/early morning to say the least. However, in an effort to jumpstart the recovery process, I met up with a friend and fellow Seneca7er for an easy shakeout run.

Tuesday – a.m. run

Another easy outing: six miles along the West Side Highway

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

I’ve been digging this workout lately: 6×3 minutes “on” and three minutes “off.” After work, I hit the Bridal Path in Central Park for an easy four miles.

Thursday – a.m. run

This workout keeps getting better and better: 4×8-minute intervals with two minutes rest. I started at endurance pace and worked down to half-marathon, 10-K, and 5-K. My legs felt great after Wednesday’s run, and I was able to tap into Seneca7 experience when they started to burn.

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

I opted for a little more sleep, so I did my 15×1-minute “on”/ “off” bike workout in the morning and waited until after work to strength train. Since my basketball days, I’ve become used to lifting immediately after a workout—whether it’s basketball or now, swimming, biking, or running—and it was weird to pick up weights (and set them down) feeling fresh.

Saturday – a.m. brick (indoor trainer ride and outdoor run); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for sportz Saturdays—and woohoo for my first brick of the season! I’m still without health insurance until June 1, so I hopped on my indoor trainer for the first part of this workout. It was tough to stay focused for the 1:45 ride, but watching Nashville helped. Immediately after, I laced up and hit the West Side Highway for a 20-minute endurance run—and it went well. My legs felt “normal” after about seven minutes of running, and even though it was supposed to be an easy run, I settled into pace that felt smooth.

After a shower and a quick power nap, I headed to the pool. It was a smaller group due to Masters Spring National Championship in North Carolina, but it was still a great workout with lots of tech work and a 5×200 main set that contained different intervals. In total, I swam about 3,650m. (I say “about” because we did a five-minute kick set, and no one got the definitive distance on that.)

Sunday – a.m. run

This was an interesting long-ish run. After a four-ish-mile warm-up in Central Park, I had a few distance endurance intervals to tackle. First, I did a loop of the reservoir and then a loop of the Bridal Path—with the goal of running them in the same amount of time. Then it was back to the reservoir for a few pick-ups. In total, I covered about eight miles; I hoped for a longer run (does this mean I’m a runner?!), but I cut the warm-up and cool-down a bit short.

How have your workouts been going?