Monthly Archives: September 2016

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 3 (Sept. 19)

This week started with summer weather and finished with fall temperatures.

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Signs of fall in Central Park

Thank GAWD. The humidity in NYC has been unbearable for the past few weeks—and entire summer, really—so I was psyched when I got to wear a t-shirt and not a tank top for my run today.

General training notes: I have a post drafted that details my off-season plans, but in essence, it comes down to doing (or not doing) the sports I want—and lately, that’s been swimming, running, and rowing. (My bike and I are taking a break. Don’t worry, we’re fine. We just need time to miss each other.)

Monday – a.m. run

Easy three-mile slog in the rain and humidity

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

An over chlorinated pool lead to a shorter, 40-minute practice. (We usually swim for an hour.) Since there were eight of us in the lane, we stuck to shorter intervals like 25s, 50s, and 75s. I tried my best to hang tough for the full 60 minutes, but the chlorine made my lips and lungs burn, and I couldn’t stop coughing.

Wednesday – p.m. run and EngineRm workout

Easy 2.5-mile warm-up before a 75-minute endurance class at EngineRm. My former Work Husband (from my days living #TheRabbitLife) came, and we had a blast.

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The pool was closed all day in an effort to rebalance the chlorine levels, and even though it was slightly better than Tuesday, it was still far from ideal. Nonetheless, I survived the IM practice.

Friday – off

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

Easy 4.5 miles to start the day, plus 4000m in the pool with the Bearcats. We did a monster 5×200 set with both paddles and pull buoys, and it’s safe to say paddles are not my friends. On the bright side, I nailed all three of my dives off the blocks.

Sunday – a.m. run

I met up with one of my tri buds for an easy loop of Central Park, and the weather was perfect: right around 55 degrees and sunny. I love fall running!

Has fall weather arrived for you?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 2 (Sept. 12)

It’s always tough to return to work after a holiday weekend.

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Escaping

For me, anyway, this week dragged by.

Monday – off

Tuesday – p.m. run, swim with Bearcat masters

Another day living the run-commute life. After work, I did a lower loop in Central Park before running downtown to my pool for a total of four miles. Since I was already wearing workout clothes, I did my first dryland session ever (for the non-swimmers, it’s basically a 30-minute warm-up) and then completed the freestyle-focused practice with my Bearcat buds. Running to swim practice? I’m having an identity crisis/transformation this off-season!

Wednesday – p.m. EngineRm workout

Wowza, this 75-minute endurance row was tough. The “main set” (not sure if that term is used in rowing) was one 15-minute block followed by descending intervals and a 1K time trial at the end.

Thursday – off

Slept in and had real-person plans after work

Friday – p.m. run

Originally, I planned to run before work, but … sleep won. (It never wins during the season!) It’s finally cooling off here in NYC, and by the time I made it to Central Park around 6 p.m., the weather was perfect: hovering around 70*F and sunny with no humidity. I kept running until I felt like stopping—er, really, until I got hungry—which led to 5.75 miles.

Saturday – a.m. run-row “brick” (run in Central Park and row at EngineRm); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I’ve missed sportz Saturdays. First, I did a short 1.5-mile warm-up run to EngineRm before I took a 45-minute class. Although I picked up the general concept relatively easy, I felt like things really clicked today, and I can already see improvement in my numbers and stamina. After running a few errands and doing productive adult things, I went to my first Bearcat distance freestyle practice of the season. It was a tough one: 1.5 hours in the water and 4,150m covered. I felt great in the water, and hopefully I can keep this momentum up as the off-season continues.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy and 5.5 miles in Central Park with one of my friends while folks training for November’s TCS NYC Marathon did 18—wowza!

Are you gearing up for a fall race/event?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 1 (Sept. 5)

Just as quickly as my seven-day period of inactivity began, Sloth Week ended. It was a smashing success, giving both my body and mind a break from triathlon.

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Summer sunsets in the 315

But all good things eventually conclude, and this week, I reintroduced exercise to my routine. Since my coach and I are meeting this upcoming week—to review 2016 and plan my off-season—I was left to my own devices. However, I know we’ll focus on swimming and running from now through December, so I made an effort to devote time to those disciplines and set a precedent for the next few months.

Monday – off

I went home for Labor Day Weekend and spent Monday traveling back to NYC (and reading “Boys in the Boat.” It’s so good.)

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

Easy shake-out run in the morning (3.6 miles), plus my first Bearcat swim practice of the fall season. I’m already doing much better than last year as far as swimming goes because I didn’t avoid the pool for three months. Success!

Wednesday – p.m. EngineRm workout

Fueled by the Olympics, my new obsession is rowing: a total-body workout that actually favors taller humans? Sign me up!

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The phrase Engine Room refers to the middle seats in an eight-oared boat (3, 4, 5, and 6) that are typically occupied by the most powerful rowers.

Earl and I talked briefing about rowing before Nationals, and he recommended EngineRm, an indoor erg facility that caters to athletes. I took a 101 class after work and then joined an hour-long endurance workout. I am totally hooked.

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Again, it’s all about doing better than last off-season: not only was this workout my second time swimming this week, but I also did the entire IM practice as prescribed. Things got a little dicey when it was time to do the butterfly, but we’ll get there. It was a shorter practice in terms of time and distance (one hour and 2,200m), but that’s fine considering it’s the start of the fall season.

Friday – p.m. run

Easy four-mile run-commute home

Saturday – a.m. run-row “brick”

I ran the scenic route through Central Park to EngineRm as an abbreviated warm-up (1.6 miles) before class. I loved the workout we did because it was structured similarly to a VO2 max set on the bike: we did five intervals of 1:15 “on” and 45 seconds active recovery, and we increased the intensity/stroke rate each time (think building the effort). Then we repeated the set again with the goal of improving our numbers. In case it isn’t clear, I am really digging rowing. The actual motions and technique remind me of swimming, and so far, the workouts we’ve done are similar to what I do on the bike.

Sunday – p.m. attempted run-swim-run brick (run to the pool, swim with Bearcat masters, run home)

In addition to rowing, I am currently obsessed with run commuting. Since it takes about 45-50 minutes to get to my pool via public transportation, I figured it would be worth a shot to see if I could get there more quickly by running—and it was a success. I’m sure I can make my route more efficient with additional trial and error, but it took about 30 minutes today. (With run commuting, especially in a city, it’s important to manage expectations: between the pedestrians and traffic lights, you aren’t going to be setting any PRs, but it’s a great way to get in a few extra easy miles.) The pool was closed today, though, due to an emergency, so no swimming, unfortunately. But I ran back home and logged close to seven miles.

How do your workouts change when you aren’t training for a specific event?

16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon Recap

My 2016 racing season officially ended a few weekends ago at the 16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon, my favorite local yokel race. This was the first swim-bike-run event I did four years ago (wow!), and when possible, I love going home and doing it again.

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… and also relaxing at home

Although I had a satisfactory outing at Nationals, it always lights a fire inside me. Racing alongside stellar athletes is both humbling and motivating; and even though an August event is late in the season for me, I always want to race one more time afterward. Luckily, we were firing on all cylinders at work with the Olympics so I accrued a few comp days and used a handful to head home to the Syracuse area for a long weekend.

Since we eased off the gas post-Omaha—the “A” race was over, and work was nuts—I didn’t know what to expect from my legs. But because I had a tough swim and run at Nationals, I was primarily concerned with those two disciplines. (The bike would simply be what it would be, especially since I had not been on my tri bike post-Nationals.)

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I really need to get a Tailwind t-shirt so I can change after the race like everyone else.

Overall, it was a good day: the choppy swim and windy bike equated to tough conditions, but I felt good about the outing I pieced together—and any day you find yourself on the podium is a good day.

Swim – 800m – 15:26

It seems like the swim course changes every year, and this time around, the 300 or so athletes faced a “C”-shaped out-and-back route. Unlike Omaha, the swim was wetsuit-legal, and the water was choppy, which I liked because it separated the field. At 8:30 a.m., my wave of women 39 and under was released, and I immediately surged to the front of the pack. Since it was only a half-mile swim—I usually swim twice as far in an Olympic-distance race—I decided to kick as if I were at a masters swim practice, a.k.a. much more frequently. There were six buoys out to the turnaround point, and I hit my first group of dudes at buoy three. (Luckily, it wasn’t a Wall of Dudes.) Given the wind and chop, I was happy with the course I swam and how I paced it: I settled in after the first 200m or so, and then I started to push again after hitting the turn around buoy. One girl in my wave tapped my feet around the 500m mark, so I threw in a surge in an effort to get some separation. She tapped me again around 700m, and that’s when I really started to push. I really wanted to be first out of the water!

Transition 1 – 1:21

Mission accomplished!

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Thanks for the photo, Dad!

She was just a few seconds behind me, but I saw her sit down in transition so I knew I would be the first woman out of T1.

Bike – 14 miles – 45:11

As soon as I mounted my bike, my legs let me know they did more work than usual during the swim. It took a few miles for me to settle in, and during the process, one pocketfriend zipped by me. I let her go because I didn’t want to burn all my matches in the opening miles.

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Even though I know the course well, I always forget how hilly it is; it’s like Quassy in the sense that it punches you over and over again. (And you feel the effects more if you’re 5’10” as opposed to 5’.) So like Quassy, my plan was to “cover up” and be conservative on the hills and make my moves on the flat portions. There’s a monster hill about halfway through, and the woman who won the sprint race outright (she beat all the dudes and ran an 18-min. 5-K off the bike) zoomed by me. I was able to hammer the last few miles, though, and as I passed one dude, all he said was, “Wow.”

Transition 2 – 1:00

As I rolled in, I knew I was the third female overall, but that placing didn’t affect my race plan. I just wanted to run a solid 5-K—and hopefully not get passed.

Run – 5-K – 23:24

The theme of this race was definitely, “I forgot how hilly this course is!” and the run was no exception.

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The hill in the opening mile punched me hard, but I was able to rebound and settle into my target pace from there. The 3.1 miles passed by quickly—and I wanted to keep going?

Official finish – 1:26:46

Even though this was a slower day compared to last year, my coach would remind me to focus on the feeling and not become emotionally attached to the numbers. Like Nationals, I felt much more in control and comfortable with the effort I was putting forth. Better yet, I had tangible goals that centered on execution (i.e. kick more during the swim, be a “boxer” during the bike, etc.). Precise execution would lead to a good day, and that’s what happened.

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Aero is everything.

I’ve become better at this process throughout the season: remaining mentally sound during a race and executing precisely and confidently. I’ve matured a lot as an endurance athlete this season (season recap post to come), and I’m excited to build on this progress during the off-season.