Tag Archives: Educated Running

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.

2016-indoor-trainer-ride

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?

2016 NYRR Spring Classic 10-K Recap

This past Sunday, I ran my first race of 2016:  NYRR’s Spring Classic 10-K.  Normally, I wouldn’t pay to run in Central Park, but the entry fee was only $10. (It was open only to NYRR members, and there weren’t t-shirts, medals, etc. ) And that’s a cheap pricetag for quality racing experience. Also, Earl and Coach Pat wanted a check-in race to gauge my running fitness.

2016-central-park-nyc-reservoir

No photos during the race, of course–I snapped this one as I cooled down.

Of course, I wanted a strong showing, but Earl and Coach Pat made it very clear the main objective was executing the race plan and running on feel (i.e. not shooting for a PR).  With this in mind, we decided that although I would turn on my Garmin to capture data, I would not look at my watch during the race.  Running is extremely mental for me.  Although I’m becoming fitter, faster, and stronger, seeing certain values (read: anything in the sevens) intimidates me and makes me second guess whether I can sustain the pace.  And as we determined from my splits below, thank GAWD I didn’t look at my watch.

Mile #1 – 7:56 – “Let it happen”

The opening mile contained Harlem Hill, so we figured this would be my slowest mile of the race.  I didn’t complete a long enough warm-up, so I was still finding my rhythm here, and I was pleasantly surprised how smooth I felt while climbing the hill.  Thanks to my Sunday Snowman Challenge, I’ve run Harlem Hill frequently so I knew how to pace it:  I broke it up into three sections and gradually increased the effort as I neared the top.  “Let [the first mile] happen,” Earl advised.  “It was going to be what it’s going to be.”

Mile #2 – 7:43 and mile #3 – 7:32 – “Let the course do the work.”

A few days before the race, Earl and I talked strategy, and he said it was important to let the course do the work.  That meant absorbing the “punches” on the uphills and making the necessary cadence adjustments and then smoothing out the effort on the downhills.  My mantra during these two miles along the West Side Rollers was “let the course do the work” and “smooth, strong, and controlled.”  If I had seen my splits during these two miles, especially the 7:32, I would’ve freaked out and eased off the gas—I didn’t and continued to run on feel.

Mile #4 – 7:58

With Cat Hill coming up, I ran the little hill conservatively.  This was also the point in the race the lactic acid started to make itself known in my legs.

Mile #5 – 8:07 – “Hang on”

Dun, dun, duuuun: Cat Hill.  Like Harlem Hill, I broke it into three sections, but struggled to find the next gear as I neared the top.  In hindsight, this was the race’s TKO punch.  My legs felt dunzo, and although “hang on” was not the most positive mindset, that’s exactly what I was doing.

Mile #6 – 7:45 – “I’m dragging.”

Again, I’m really glad I did not look at my watch.  My legs felt heavy, and I felt like I was running through molasses; it felt like a 9:00 min./mi. pace.  It’s important to run your own race, but around this time, I listened to the people alongside of me; they were totally gassed.  I was still breathing easily.  And that’s been the story of my running life—feeling the burn in my legs and not my lungs.

Last bit – 2:04

As per usual, I was feeling a lot of feelings when I finished.  I was surprised with my average pace because it felt like I was running 7:40-7:45 throughout—which, if you take out the Cat Hill mile, is exactly what happened.  It also gives me confidence to know that when I thought I was “dragging” I was actually fine and running a 7:45. It comes down to dialing in my mental game and trusting myself. As Earl said post-race, becoming a better racer physically is the easy part—the challenge is getting your mind to catch up.

How do you power through tough workouts and races?

 

Triathlon Training Log – Week 15 (March 7)

I spent a solid amount of time this week cross-training, a.k.a. shopping for adult clothes.

2016-corporate-wardrobe

Leslie Knope’s goofiness + Claire Underwood’s fierceness = Carrie, a reluctant adult

My new gig starts tomorrow (gah!), so my sister and I shopped ‘till we dropped from Wednesday through Saturday. You would think swimming, biking, and running endurance would translate, but it does not.

General training notes: All in all, this was another mixed bag training week. It started in Sanibel and ended in New York City, and my body felt the heat and extra travel. Luckily, my recovery week starts Monday, and it’s the first time this season I feel like I actually need it.

Monday – a.m. swim

Back to my “office” for an easy 2,250-yard workout.

2016-sanibel-rec-center-swimming

Unpictured: freckles/tan lines

It was actually the same one I did last Wednesday, and it was rewarding to feel a difference in terms of smoothness.

Tuesday – a.m. run

All right, pros to this fartlek workout: it was the same one from last week, so I knew what I was facing; I felt smoother and more in control of the paces. Cons: it was super hot (around 80*F), so I tacked on some extra rest intervals; and due to poor planning, I had time to do the ladder (2-4-6-4-2 minutes) once before heading to the airport. Overall, it was a mixed bag, but it gives me confidence to know I can hit and hold the prescribed pace in hot conditions—because that’s what Omaha will probably be like in August.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Back in the saddle! I made my triumphant return with a 3×10-minute zone two set: for the first block, we alternated between high gear/low cadence (75 RPMs) and natural cadence every minute; the second set was straight natural cadence; and the third was high gear/low cadence and natural cadence every two minutes.

Thursday – a.m. run

Another cruise interval workout: eight minutes at Ironman effort, marathon pace, half-marathon pace, and 10-K pace with two minutes recovery between. Intervals one, two, and three were fine, but I struggled to maintain an even pace for my 10-K effort.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

A lot of my masters buds swam Harvard this weekend (er, the 2016 New England LMSC Short Course Championship), so this was a taper swim that contained mostly short (25 to 100m) efforts. I also nailed three dives off the blocks! After 4,000m, though, I was dragging for the rest of the day; swimming takes it out of me.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Like most two-hour rides, this workout contained two hour-long blocks. First, we tackled a longer warm-up with single-leg and high cadence drills, plus some over/under efforts. (“Over” meaning more than 100 percent and “under” 85 percent; we alternated between these two for 10 minutes.) The opening main block included four, four-minute intervals: three minutes at tempo (75-85 percent) and one minute at VO2 max (105-120 percent). I was sore from Friday’s swim and didn’t know how long I’d last, but it ended up being fine. For the second hour, we rode the Ironman Germany course and alternated between 10 minutes at tempo, five minutes at sweet spot, and five minutes at threshold.

Sunday – a.m. run

This was my second time taking on Earl’s snowman challenge and trying to match my lower loop and Harlem Hill loop times. (For those unfamiliar with Central Park, the lower loop is relatively flat and fast and a bit longer than the Harlem Hill lap.) I settled in to my tempo pace for the lower loop and ran the 1.7 miles faster than I did two weeks ago. And in an effort to match the total time, I ran the 1.39-mile Harlem Hill loop about 15 seconds slower than my previous time. Although my times were closer, they didn’t match up exactly. On the bright side, though, I felt much more confident and in control of this workout, and I was happy with how sustainable my tempo pace felt.

How is it mid-March already?! Has spring sprung yet?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase III, Week 12 (Feb. 15)

Training: if you aren’t having fun, then you’re doing it wrong.

2016-tailwind-endurance-blissful-endurance

Even if it’s just quality zone two time

General training notes: Even though I took training easy last week due to being sick, this week served as a recovery week because I’m power testing on Monday. *Knock on wood* everything continues to feel fluid.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

This Three Bears workout has become our standard Monday set: high tension (a.k.a. big gear) and low cadence. Spending time in these easier zones has challenged me mentally—both in terms of holding back and controlling the effort and staying focused. During these types of workouts, I focus on engaging all the right muscle groups and maintaining a perfect pedal stroke for each revolution.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy, six-ish mile run that included 3×12 minutes at desired Ironman run pace, plus full-body strength training and corework

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Another mental challenge: while my training buds did a sweet spot/threshold workout, I locked in to 3×15 minutes at zone two. (Thanks a lot, recovery week.) However, I did get the green light to do 3×1:30 at VO2 max, which was nice.

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

I’ve been digging these fartlek runs: one minute “on,” one minute “off,” all the way up to three minutes for each effort. It’s nice to tap into these sustainable, yet challenging efforts, and hopefully, I’ll be spending more time doing this faster stuff as March approaches.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Well, it took the old school Russian swim coach 70 minutes before he told me women shouldn’t do triathlons. Sigh. On the bright side, the main set contained a few longer intervals (300s and 200s), and we logged 2,700m. This is definitely the best I’ve felt in the water, and things seemed to click sooner than usual. I’m slowly getting there!

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Titled “blissful endurance,” these Saturday morning rides center on easier efforts, and today, one of my tri buds accurately renamed it “mind numbing endurance.” While the rest of the class faced nine-, 12-, and 15-minute blocks with various efforts, I rode at 75 percent for two hours. But I could not complain: of the Tailwind coaches took on Ultraman Florida this weekend (6.2-mile swim, 261.4-mile bike, and 52.4-mile run over three days), and if he could hang out on his bike for nine hours, then I could certainly woman up and do two.

Sunday – a.m. run

Just a normal long-run outing in Central Park … except I saw RICH ROLL. I didn’t believe it was him! Thanks to his podcast, I knew he visited Vassar College yesterday, but figured he would stay in the area. Apparently not. We exchanged a few tweets after the missed connection, but he’ll be back here next month.

How did your workouts go this week?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase III, Week Eleven (Feb. 8)

How is it Sunday again?

2016-zelda-sanibel

Zelda says hi from Sanibel.

This was a weird week for me. Everyone at work is sick, getting sick, or recovering from being sick, and although I avoided it for a few days, the congestion and coughing eventually caught me. It probably didn’t help that I drank a ton of adult beverages (for me) last weekend for my birthday and the Super Bowl. Live and learn.

General training notes: I sensed something was off Tuesday when I needed a third cup of coffee at work, and by Wednesday, the congestion and coughing hit. I really hoped things would turn around for Sunday’s PPTC Cherry Tree 10 Miler—I registered on a whim—and after strategizing with Earl and Coach Pat, we agreed to take it easy this week due to sickness and to the potential race. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and I took three rest days. Were we being conservative? Yes. But what’s the point of pushing now if it will take me longer to recover? Plus, running in “feels like -10 degrees Fahrenheit” is not the wisest decision if I’m not feeling 100 percent.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

So remember the Goldilocks workout? Well, naturally, there’s also a Three Bears set. (And no, not the same Three Bears from Ironman Lake Placid.) After a long warm-up with plenty of single-leg drills and a 10-minute block at endurance pace, we faced a low cadence set that tested leg strength. Here’s how it went down: one minute at 55 RPMs at 65 percent; one minute at 55-65 RPMs at 75 percent; one minute at 55-65 RPM at 90 percent; and 30-second build to a full sprint. (Three minutes down and repeat four times.) This session centered on cadence work and perfecting the pedal stroke. Case in point: I kept it on the heaviest gear possible and executed the builds by increasing my cadence.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy run, plus full-body strength training and corework

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

More quality zone two time: 2×20 minutes at 70-72 percent

Thursdaya.m. run and strength train off

This is when I stubbornly admitted I caught the bug. I slept in and originally planned to run after work, but I felt exhausted—even after a third cup of coffee. After talking with Earl and Coach Pat, we agreed to take the day off and assess how I felt Friday.

Friday a.m. swim with Bearcat masters off

For whatever reason, masters practice was cancelled, which worked out nicely because I was still hacking up a lung. I also quarantined myself and worked from home.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

There was a small chance I’d do the Cherry Tree 10 Miler, so Earl programmed an easy bike workout: long warm-up with single-leg and high cadence drills followed by 15 minutes at endurance, 10 minutes at tempo, and five minutes at threshold. I struggled to dial in the threshold effort, and we agreed if I ran the next day, it would be an easy training “yog.”

Sundaya.m. PPTC Cherry Tree 10 Miler off

I’ve done this race the past two years, so I’m bummed I’m sitting on my couch and not running right now. But it is also 1 degree Fahrenheit so …

When you’re sick, how do you determine if you should work out or take a day off?

My 2016 Triathlon Life: Updates and Race Schedule

All right, folks. The time has come to talk watts 2016 triathlon. The 2015 campaign seems like a distant memory, and thanks to Coach Pat, we made some solid run progress during the off-season with a focused block. And after an epic Sloth Week that coincided with Thanksgiving, I felt rested, recharged, and ready to enter my fourth official swim-bike-run season.

2016-ootd-watts

Always, always, always about watts

In my most recent triathlon-focused post, I reviewed off-season progress and identified a few factors worth noting about 2016, specifically the addition of a triathlon coach to oversee and plan my schedule. If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know I’ve become a regular at Tailwind Endurance. Almost immediately, I knew Earl would be the person to lead me through my first 70.3. (False alarm: I am not making the jump just yet.) That is absolutely still true, but I couldn’t wait another three or four years to enlist a knowledgeable coach.

Although last year’s “piecemeal” plan worked, my biggest challenge centered on balancing the three disciplines. It turns out, all those times Earl jokingly asked, “Carrie, did you do speedwork yesterday?” before a threshold ride or a brick workout, he was actually making an excellent point: key workouts were being logged, but their scheduling was not ideal. Overall, I was not giving my body adequate recovery time. Since I’m a relatively young athlete, I was able to get away with it, but it isn’t a sustainable training model, especially because I plan to keep doing triathlons as long as I can.

Another factor to consider includes my training load. First, I didn’t undergo an official base building period. As a short-course triathlete, I didn’t see spending significant time in zone two worthwhile. After all, I race in the red—so I should train there, right? But in order to truly tap into top-end speed, you need to have a solid base, and that’s something I lacked across the disciplines. Today, even though I give Earl some grief about all the zone two time, I know it’s what I need to be doing—and I trust the process.

Second, my volume across the disciplines was fairly consistent and proportional last year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in order to make notable gains—and give my body some extra built-in recovery time—we will be implementing various swim-, bike-, and run-focused blocks during the season. This is really exciting because off-season run blocks have worked very well, so it makes sense to transfer this principle to my in-season programming.

Overall, Earl will be in charge of my triathlon life, and we’ll continue to outsource workouts (i.e. I will still swim with the Bearcat masters and run under the direction of Coach Pat). The major benefit is now I have someone responsible for planning my schedule (i.e. “Carrie, you need to ride Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and the weekday rides will be threshold-focused …”), keeping track of the data on Training Peaks (I’m a “real” triathlete now!), and ultimately guiding me through this journey for the foreseeable future.

Earl and I have talked short- and long-term goals, and although there is something alluring about the 70.3 distance, we will continue focusing on short-course races for the next few years. Thus far, the 2016 season includes two tune-up races and a LAKE PLACID training trip before I take on USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Omaha, which will be my “A” race.

Seneca7

Date: Sunday, April 24

Distance: 77.7 miles (split among a team of seven)

Priority: “C”

trajectory-2012-seneca7

Throwing it back to 2012: Some things never change.

Back before my corner of the blogosphere came into existence, I ran this race my senior year of college, and I also served on the race committee. This unique perspective—both planning and running the race—not only affected my career path, but it also led to one of the best days ever. Seriously, when “The Run-On Sentences” (hey, I ran with a bunch of folks from my Writing and Rhetoric department) took on those 77.7 miles, we had so much fun, and I’ve wanted to do this race again ever since. However, it usually coincides with the South Beach Triathlon, but I decided to opt out of the Miami trip this year and do the Seneca7 instead. I rounded up a bunch of my NYC runner friends, so watch out, Geneva!

Rev3 Quassy

Date: Saturday, June 4

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

This is why I need a coach: because even though I’ve refused to register for this race, he told me I need to do it. And I’m a good athlete, so I’m following orders. Full disclosure: I have never completed a Rev3 event, but this course will be very similar to the disastrous Pat Griskus Triathlon during which I drank all the lake water. Rev3 puts on top-notch events, and this will be a tough and humbling outing thanks to hilly bike and run routes—and the competition will be fierce too. This will be my first official check-in, so we’ll use this race to make sure everything is on track.

Lake Placid Training Camp

Date: 4th of July weekend

lake-placid-mirror-lake-sunset

Always chasing that paradise

Placid paradise, here I come! Last year, the WorkLiveTri training camp served twofold: not only did I get some quality headspace while swimming, cycling, and running in the Adirondacks, but I also found my triathlon mojo after sustaining a bike crash. This year, this group will most likely link up with Tailwind Endurance so there will be at least 15 of us there.

HITS – Kingston

Date: Sunday, July 10

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

hits-kingston-run2

Strong visor game. The run split? Not so much.

This weekend proved to be a pleasant surprise of 2015, and again, this race will serve as my final tune-up before Nationals. The bike-run combo especially will be a great opportunity to execute my Nationals race plan and ensure we’re working with accurate wattages, paces, and data.

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Date: Saturday, Aug. 13

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A”

USAC3123-20x30

Sometimes I run.

Like the past three years, Nationals will be the “A” race in 2016. Although I never managed to crack the Milwaukee course, I’m excited to head somewhere new (has anyone been to Omaha?) and face a new venue. As always, this will be a humbling outing, and the goal will be to execute the most perfect race possible. Concrete goals TBD.

It’s highly possible I jump in a few running race during the next few months—and maybe a training weekend trip here or there—but these tris are part of the target plan.

Which 2016 event are you looking forward to the most?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Five (Dec. 28)

Happy 2016!

2016-january-resolution-run-riverside-park

It took me a few days, but I did in fact log a resolution run. Well, it was my first run of the New Year. And I thought about 2016 so …

General training notes: This span marks the fifth week of base building, and we’ll look to start introducing harder, more intense efforts on both the bike and run this month. And once February arrives, we’ll incorporate targeted FTP and speedwork. I’m pretty excited! I’ve definitely learned and felt the importance of zone two workouts this past month, and I give a ton of credit to long course folks who training nearly exclusively in this zone. That’s not to say I won’t spend quality time here as the season progresses—there will still be easy and recovery workouts—but this phase has confirmed I am definitely suited for short-course triathlons—for now.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

More quality time spent in zone two: thirty-minute build/warm-up, plus a 20-minute low cadence (70-80 RPM) block to work on pedal stroke mechanics.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training

Easy 45-minute run in the rain and full-body strength training

Wednesday – p.m. run

Six-mile hill workout in Central Park after work

Thursday – a.m. off

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two-hour endurance ride with a few VO2 max intervals at the end for fun

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two-hour endurance ride

 Sunday – a.m. run

Easy nine miler along the West Side Highway to Riverside Park

What are your fitness/training/racing goals for 2016?

My 2015 Running and Triathloning Recap

So long, 2015! I have mixed feelings saying goodbye to this year. It felt like a roller coaster ride right out of the gate, and almost immediately, there were some big triathlon and work changes. The highs were high, and the lows were low—and I was always on my toes. I did a lot of learning, growing, contemplating, and of course, swimming, biking, and running. Let’s take an easy, zone two jog down memory lane.

2015-christmas-eve-sunset-lakeside

Christmas Eve lakeside bliss

Best race experience

Several factors comprise an awesome race experience. Of course, there’s the training—dedicating yourself to the process and doing everything in your power to prepare for a successful outing—but there’s also the traveling, hanging out with friends, and soaking in the overall race atmosphere. In 2015, I didn’t complete an event that rose above the others as the pinnacle of racing. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. But I enjoyed every race.

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Post-trail run in Denver. This is why people wear trail shoes.

When I went to South Beach in April, I had a blast hanging out with friends before and after the hotter-than-hot classic-distance event (a.k.a. eating all the food). At Kingston in July, I had fun getting to know my Tailwind Endurance buddies more and executing a decent race given the weather. At Nationals in August, I loved trying on “autopilot” and doing me. A few weeks later, I returned home and did the same course that served as my first triathlon ever, which was a neat way to look back and see my progress. And at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in November, I proved to myself I am a mentally strong runner who can execute 13.67 solid miles.

Best swim

Swimming and I have an interesting relationship. Simply going to the pool for a workout requires so much logistical coordination: getting my cap, goggles, swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops together; walking the 17 minutes to the facility; jumping in the freezing water and attempting to warm up. It’s a wonder I manage to swim at all! (Full disclosure: I still haven’t been in the water since September.) But I never struggle to swim when I’m in Lake Placid.

2015-ironman-lake-placid-mirror-lake-rock

Swimming in Mirror Lake is therapeutic. During these mile outings, my mind wanders. I reflect on the past year or so—the last time I was in Placid is usually the baseline—and what was going on in my life then. I love getting this headspace. Hitting paces and making intervals are the last things on my mind.

But as far as those lung-busting swims go, the best one I had during a race was at Nationals. Not only did I lay down a respectable split, but I also knew within a 15-second ballpark what my time was. (Related: I plan to start swimming again next week.)

Best bike

Thinking back to the time I spent in the saddle, a few things jump out: starting my training early at Tailwind Endurance; sustaining a crash (and concussion); recovering from said crash physically and mentally; logging blissful rides in Placid; and executing a decent 40-K at Nationals. The happiest miles I rode definitely occurred in Placid, but I can’t discount the comeback process.

2015-bike-crash-black-eye-trainer-selfie

Everyone loves a good #TrainerSelfie, especially when it showcases a black eye.

I vividly remember my first outdoor ride post-crash, and even though I was a bit twitchy, the outing restored my confidence.

Best run

I didn’t run to my potential off the bike this year; I never found that effortless, invincible feeling, and I failed to execute strong, mentally sound miles. But that’s OK. These “close, but no cigar” experiences helped me fully devote myself to Philadelphia Half-Marathon training.

west-side-highway-running-artsy-blurry

… and refocus my run training

The goal was to run strong and bring home a PR, and this running block catapulted my 2016 triathlon training. And during the race itself, I felt smooth, strong, and confident in my ability to execute.

Best piece of new gear

Santa delivered: hello, power meter!

quarq-riken-power-meter

Watts, watts, WATTS!

Obviously, I haven’t used it yet, but this tool will revolutionize my racing. I’ll be able to see how many watts I make!

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

This year will go down as the year of the bike crash, and as I mentioned previously, it really forced me to let go and trust the process.

5:28-tailwind-endurance-power-hour

Head down and getting to work

The crash affected me mentally too, and as I recuperated and approached my races, Earl gave me some sound advice: “Confidence is a choice. You need to choose to be confident.”

Most inspirational runner

Like last year, I continue to train and work with some stellar humans who also run—and they run fast, far, and a lot.

 If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging, humbling, and memorable

2015-best-nine

#2015bestnine

Thanks for following along this year–bring it on, 2016!

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Four (Dec. 21)

For the first time since the 1920s, CNY saw a green Christmas.

2015-december-green-christmas

Lakeside bliss

Being home for the holidays sans snow was strange. We tried (and failed) to cut down a Christmas tree. Granted, we had an artificial one set up already, but still. And can we talk about how warm it was? I wore shorts for each of my three runs, and sure, it rained a bit, but now snow. Totally unprecedented.

General training notes: I spent nine days at home, so Earl structured this week as a recovery period. Although I could’ve brought my bike home and rode outside (it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Eve!), my wheels stayed in NYC, and I focused on running and strength training—and baking cookies with Grandma. #priorities

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Easy 45-minute run in the rain

Wednesday – a.m. strength train

There’s a college in my hometown, so I went to its fitness center for my full-body strength training workout. (I usually swim when I’m home, but I’m still avoiding the pool for another month.) Anyway, this was my first time in a legitimate weight room (vs. gym or fitness facility) in a long time. And although I love getting stronger and getting after it, I did not miss the creepers. My earbuds may be in, but I can still see you trolling around, dude.

Thursday – a.m. run

Earl programmed a six-mile hill run, but I had time for only four. When Christmas cookie baking, frosting, and arranging calls …

2015-christmas-cookies

Just a “modest 1,000 cookies.” Direct quotation, folks.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. strength train

Abbreviated session at home because the fitness center was closed

Sunday – a.m. run

Sub-par planning and a late sunrise led to a shorter run—but a handful of miles are better than none.

All right. Back to the grind …

What did you do for the holidays?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Three (Dec. 13)

It’s the most RUN-derful time of the year …

2015-christmas-tree-holiday-spirit

Full disclosure: this tree was up well before Thanksgiving, which is a cardinal Christmas sin in my opinion. But the sacrifices you make for friends …

General training notes: Nothing too interesting to report as my third week of triathlon base building comes to a close. This span saw a few more harder efforts on the bike, but we’re still keeping things super easy on the run. Since the workouts themselves aren’t challenging, I’ve been focusing on the little things: making each pedal stroke as perfect as possible; running smooth and strong; thinking about how strength training exercises directly translate to power while cycling and running. To paraphrase John Wooden, doing these little things right will make big things happen.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Huzzah for zone three! This ride’s main set was a 35-minute effort in which I could go up to 88 percent.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy 60-minute run, plus full-body strength training

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Watts, watts, WATTS: I completed my first power test in nine months, and all things considered, it went OK.

2015-december-tailwind-endurance-power-test

During the 20-minute time trial effort, I executed my build precisely (a.k.a making more watts every five minutes), but I started off too conservatively; this resulted in a lower FTP than I hoped, but it’s December. There is plenty of time to get that value up. For those who love watts like me, my FTP is 20 watts lower than it was when I peaked in August.

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

Full-body strength training in the morning and then a six-mile hilly run in Central Park after work

Friday – off … but p.m. run with friends

Our 6th Annual Joe Paulik Fun and Sexy Run was a smashing success.

2015-fun-and-sexy-run

In case you were blinded by my whiteness, I am the pale-looking one on the far right.

We almost got arrested! Every year, we wear as little clothing as possible, run to a bunch of tourist sites like the Central Park ice skating rink and Rockefeller Christmas Tree, sing Christmas carols, and spread holiday cheer. It was a balmy 40*F this year, so the whole half-naked element wasn’t as much of a big deal, but let’s just say when the girls took off shirts, we became a lot more popular.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Still back to basics: two-hour endurance ride in the saddle. There were a few FTP builds sprinkled in, though, and we finished the workout with a few sustained threshold efforts.

Sunday – a.m. run

Blissful long run at home around the lake—in shorts.

2015-december-lakeside-long-run

It looks like we’ll have a green Christmas, but I can’t be mad about this lakeside view.

What are your plans for the holidays?