Monthly Archives: October 2016

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 8 (Oct. 24)

Fall is my favorite time of the year: the colors, the food (full disclosure: I am so not a pumpkin person), and of course, the extremely run-able weather.

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Dawn patrol along the Reservoir

General training notes: in summary, I did all the running and all the swimming this week. I’m feeling good on the pavement and really good in the water so I’m going with it until we return to structured training sometime in December.  That is probably when my bike will make its grand reappearance too.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Set up for the TCS NYC Marathon has begun: I spotted the grandstands during my easy loop of Central Park.

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

Though they require a wake-up alarm in the fours (how in the world do we do this during the season?), I’ve been digging these morning swims. In total, I logged 3,100m in 70 minutes that was a mix of freestyle and choice strokes. After work, I met up with a friend for 3.6 easy miles through the park.

Thursday – a.m. run

Easy 5.6-miler to start the day. Running has been feeling really good these days—I’m sure the fall temperatures are to credit—and I’ve actually begun sprinkling in fartleks, gradually speeding up for a minute or so and then easing off the pedal.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

This 3,600m practice (woof!) packed plenty of stroke work with a focus on backstroke. Right now, I struggle to execute these flip-turns properly—come cleanly off the wall on my back and throw down some strong kicks without taking in all the water.

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

It’s been a while, but Sportz Saturdays returned this week with an easy five-mile run in the morning and monster 4,600m swim in the afternoon. Running has been feeling really good lately, and I actually had to force myself to shut it down at the five-mile mark because I knew the afternoon swim would be tough. It was distance freestyle day at the pool, and I was super proud of myself for surviving the 2×500 pull set with paddles. (I can’t seem to get the water entry angle right.)

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy eight miles in the park with one of my tri buds. Our outing coincided with the NYRR Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff, and I can’t believe marathon week has begun. Although it’s still an event for us at work, the marathon doesn’t carry the same intensity, craziness, and madness it did when I was living #TheRabbitLife. Of course, it’s still an exciting time of year, but it will be a difference experience this time around.

What is your go-to workout these days?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 7 (Oct. 17)

So … I survived my first swim meet!

2016-bearcat-swim-meet

#WannabeSwimmer reporting for 50m butterfly duty!

General training notes: to prepare for Saturday’s swim meet, the goal was to make it to the pool three times beforehand. (In past weeks, we’ve been slowly building my swim volume and frequency, so three workouts was feasible.) However, I definitely felt sore from hiking last weekend, which translated to sub-par swim sessions. Friday’s workout was especially sluggish so I wasn’t sure what to expect on Saturday—but it went well!

Monday – p.m. run

Easy shake-out run after work

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Let’s hope a not-so-great swim on Tuesday leads to an OK one on Saturday. It had been four days since the last time I hit the water, and I definitely noticed. Anyway, we’ve started sprinkling in more IM work during these freestyle-focused practices, and my body was toast after the 2,200m workout.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 5.5-miler to kick off the day

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another IM-heavy practice with plenty of starts off the blocks. Fingers crossed I don’t bellyflop on Saturday!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

In hindsight, I should’ve slept in because my body felt like total junk. Granted, it’s tough to recover and turn around for a second challenging swim practice in 12 hours, but I really wanted to get in the water one more time before the meet. I only swam an hour and logged 2,500m.

Saturday – 10th Bearcat Masters Invitational Meet

I didn’t bellyflop. I didn’t finish last. It was a great day in the life of a wannabe swimmer! Recap to come, but I had a blast swimming all the freestyle events (50m, 100m, and 200m), plus the 100 IM and a few relays. I even won the 50 in my AG!

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy 8.5-mile run with one of my tri buds

What did you do this weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 6 (Oct. 10)

For the second weekend in a row, I escaped the concrete jungle.

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Eight miles + four hours = one incredible view at Slide Mountain

The time, the destination was the Catskills, and the fall foliage, weather, and hiking did not disappoint.

General training notes: before heading to the Catskills, I logged some solid workouts this week, specifically in the pool. We’ve slowly built my swim volume throughout the past few weeks, and I’ll log a few workouts before this Saturday’s meet—which will be my first one ever! I’ve been told my event list is aggressive (50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle, plus the 100 IM and most likely a 4x200m freestyle relay), but ignorance is bliss, a.k.a. I don’t know any better. It will a learning experience, and I’m pumped.

Monday – p.m. run

Nearly six miles after work

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

Easy 3.5 miles before work, plus a surprise IM masters practice. (Tuesdays are typical freestyle while Thursdays are IM.) As the lane worked through the main set, I thought about how far I’ve come both physically and mentally as a swimmer. Sure, an IM practice isn’t my favorite thing, and I’ve altered these types of sets in the past (by swimming freestyle when the workout called for stroke work). But on this night, I didn’t think twice about it; I just did it.  Also, during my first few IM practices last year, I had to ask what “IM order” meant, or which stroke I was supposed to do when. On this night, though, I led the lane. Whether I’m becoming faster is one thing (which I feel like I am), but I’m also excited about the mental/knowledge aspect of this progress. Something that originally scared me big time is now normal, although still challenging. To me, that’s what this sport is all about.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Up until this point, I’ve avoid morning swims because of the logistics involved. But since I have a meet coming up—and since Earl wants me to swim five days this week—I put the hassle aside and got my butt to the 6 a.m. practice. And I was so glad I did. Not only did I get to see my Bearcat tri buds, but I also completed an endurance-focused workout that was a perfect follow-up to Tuesday night’s harder session.

Thursday – off

My family visited for a few days, and we hung out Thursday evening.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I didn’t realize how much I missed these morning practices. I need to keep playing around with the timing of my commute (what time I need to leave the pool, what time the nearest train comes, etc.), but in the future, I should be able to be in the water for nearly 75 minutes of the 90-minute session. Aside from underwater drills—where you hold your breath and swim underwater for a predetermined length, a.k.a my nemesis—I felt great in the water and finally got a Bearcat masters swim cap. The hay is in the barn, and I’m as ready as I’m going to be for next weekend’s meet!

Saturday – hike in the Catskills

There’s nothing like escaping the concrete jungle for a fall foliage weekend north. The four hours and eight miles of hiking were absolutely perfect.

Sunday – a.m. run and hike

Easy six-mile shake-out in the Catskills, plus another hike

What are some of your favorite fall activities?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 5 (Oct. 3)

OK, OK—I have a legitimate reason for the delay this time: I spent the weekend in Arizona.

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One of my friends ran her second ultra and asked if I wanted to tag along. Since I’ve never seen an ultra—or been to Arizona—and had an extra day to take off due to August’s Olympic mayhem, I was able to swing it. In short, it was an amazing experience, and I have a newfound respect for folks who go that distance and run more than 26.2 miles in one stint.

General training notes: overall, this past week ended up being a down week in terms of workouts, intensity, and overall mileage due to my trip to Arizona. Oh, I registered for my first swim meet! I’m still very much living the #wannabeswimmer life, and next weekend’s competition will take me completely out of my comfort zone. I can’t wait!

Monday – p.m. run

Logged about six easy miles after work in the park

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another packed practice with eight people in my lane, so we stuck to shorter sets of 50s and 75s—and I led the lane!

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 4.5 miler in the park

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Tough 2750m IM practice

Friday – off

Travel to Phoenix

Saturday – a.m. hike in Canyon de Chelly

While my friend ran 34 miles (gah!), I went to the White House Trail Ruins in Canyon de Chelly and completed the 2.5-mile hike. Between the climbing and altitude, it took more out of me than anticipated, and I spent a few hours that afternoon napping and streaming Ironman Kona on my phone.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy shake-out after my friend’s ultra and before we headed home

What’s the last trip you took? Would you ever do an ultra?

2016 In Review and What Comes Next

As per usual, this post is a few weeks late, but I like to think the delay led to greater reflection, conclusions, and headspace.

After enjoying seven days of zero physical activity, Sloth Week concluded on Labor Day Weekend. I actually went home for the holiday, and it was nice not to have workouts hanging over my head. It was also nice to eat my way through the New York State Fair: fried pickles, falafel, frozen chocolate-covered bananas, mmm. This gluttony and inactivity eventually ended, though, and once back in NYC, I spent a week reintroducing my body to exercise. And a few weeks ago, my coach and I met to review the 2016 season and map out off-season plans.

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First things first: we had a solid 2016 campaign. This was my first year having a coach, and it revolutionized my training. It eliminated the guesswork of putting things together piecemeal-style—which I did in 2015—and it gave me peace of mind. All I had to do was follow the plan, trust the process, and the progress would come.

Progress definitely occurred this season. I had some great races. (I had some not-so-great ones that I worked through.) Other opportunities arrived too. I got a new job. I moved. I worked something like 20 days straight for Olympics. Above all, I matured this season. Thanks to Earl’s guidance, I took a long-term approach to training, keeping the big picture in mind and recognizing how the short-term affects the long-term. Each training cycle, each week, each workout, each interval has its purpose. Rather than obsess about making it fast, I focused on execution—how precisely can I execute each interval, workout, week, and training block. Numbers are absolutely important, but I’ve found that by honing in on the execution, the result takes care of itself. To paraphrase John Wooden, when you focus on the little things, that’s when the big things can happen. And, of course, this outlook transcends triathlon.

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Every day is National Coffee Day for me, but …

In this light, the 2016 off-season will be about further enjoying the process and savoring the journey.  From now through early November, I have free reign to do what I want. So far, that’s been swimming (I know!), running (I know!), and rowing (who am I?). Not sure if this is an identity crisis or transformation, but I’m having a lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

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Good vibes and good shoes

This means 2017 will look different from a racing perspective. As Earl says, I’m simultaneously on the brink and in a weird limbo: still tapping in to my short-course speed and almost ready to make the jump to racing a 70.3. With this in mind, we’ll aim for “experience” outings, or endurance events that will test me in new ways and provide the foundation for long-course racing. We’re talking about masters swim meets, open-water swim races, and running races. Of course, there will be some tris too, but Nationals will not be the “A” race this year. The plan is far from concrete, but overall, we’re looking to build my endurance portfolio.

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 4 (Sept. 26)

Today in sidewalk wisdom:

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Quotations like these pop up on the concrete here in New York City from time to time. I usually see them when I’m starting or finishing a workout, and it gives me something to think about while I’m running or it resonates with me. For whatever reason, I’m more receptive—to ideas, to opportunities, you name it—after a solid sweat session.

General training notes: the big news this week is due to chemical problems, my pool was closed for a few days. (Remember last week’s abbreviated practices?) Swimming and I are at a great place now, so it was a bummer to be out of the water for a week. Luckily, though, the issues were resolved, and it reopened on Saturday. I’m still digging my rowing classes, and running continues to go well. All good things to report!

Monday – a.m. run

Easy four miler in the park with a few pickups

Tuesdayp.m. swim with Bearcat masters p.m. run

Remember last week’s chlorine issues? Well, the swimming gods conspired against me: the pool is closed until further notice. The news broke during work, so I went straight home after, changed into my running stuff, and met one of my friends for five easy miles in Central Park. Hey, you gotta take what the defense gives you.

Wednesday – p.m. run and EngineRm workout

After work, I logged an easy 2.5 miles in Central Park before my 75-minute endurance rowing class at EngineRm.

Thursdayp.m. swim with Bearcat masters p.m. EngineRm workout

Continuing to rack up the meters at EngineRm and took a 45-minute class after work

Friday – off

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

Another Sportz Saturday for the win: I started the day with a 45-minute rowing class and an easy five-mile run in Central Park with a few friends. We went to brunch after, and then I hightailed it … to the pool because it finally opened! Even though I had been out of the water for a week—due to factors beyond my control—this swim went well. We did a lot of freestyle technique work and longer intervals, and I practiced my dives off the blocks. I nailed all three!

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

There was a half-marathon in Central Park that one of my friends was doing as a training run, so I met up with him for part of the race. I’m slowly increasing the distance of my long run and logged 8.5 miles this week. Later that afternoon, I went to the pool for a 1.5-hour IM-focused practice with the Bearcats. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up—after a long run and doing butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke work—but I made it through the entire practice and tailed 4,000m.

How do you adjust workouts if and when facilities close?