Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There is a raisini in my dessert

As a kid, we had dessert after dinner every night. I always looked forward to it and carry this sweet tooth to this day. I often think of certain parts of my swim workout as dessert. For example, pulling or drills because I can do them all day and not really feel like it it work.

In this taper week, I was looking forward to my last swim and thought it would be a delightful dessert. Instead, it had raisins in it which I abhore and I wanted to take a pass. Two sets of 500 working on speed--this is my taper week coach, where is my dessert. I completed my workout but I was not happy about it.

As long as I am complaining, the pool was cold this morning and the showers were lacking hot water. I take an ice bath after every workout as part of my rehab for my various ailing body parts. There is generally a white water line on my skin when I get out demarking the part of my body that was not exposed to the icewater. I noted today that I had those same marking from the shower and swim.

Bike is all packed just need to get my gear together and I am ready to head off to St. Croix. Tomorrow is my travel day so no workout in store. Next post comes to you from the Caribbean.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Staying disciplined

Up at 5 AM today, enjoying the ability to hear the paper hit the yard before I get up. Situps and pushups then to my brick.

First up, 30 minutes on the bike with some one legged drills. Bring it on. Then off on a 30 minute run with some fartleks. Good control of the heart rate today. At one point in a mile loop that I run a guy was running with me. I was in my warm up so figured he would take off but I stayed on his shoulder checking my heart rate to make sure I was staying in my targeted zone. I resisted the urge to smoke him but I made him work.

Tomorrow, back in the pool.

Monday, April 28, 2008


You never know what your missing until you experience it. Today I swam in my contacts. Pretty amazing what you can see when your vision is corrected. All went well. At first there was a little too much suction in my right goggle which nearly sucked out my lens--or at least that is what it felt like--but overall they were pretty comfortable. Of course, after I left the pool I was remembering back to the multiple times that my goggles were pulled off mid-swim. Not sure what that experience would be like with contacts.

Tomorrow, in my taper week, a 30 minute run and 30 minute bike.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Perfect running weather

54 degrees and a bit of a mist, perfect day for a run. I went out sans tunes to try to duplicate race conditions. Ultimately this makes time pass a bit more slowly but I got the job done. I finally bought some speed laces and put them on my running shoes. There may be a little adjusting left to do between now and race day but overall they seemed fine.

I was going to go swim with my contacts for a bit--something I have yet to do. Given that swimming was not on my training schedule and I was feeling like a lazy Sunday I passed on the opportunity. Hopefully, I will remember to pop my eyes in for tomorrow's swim.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Working with the race wheels

A reverse brick today due to a bit of a delayed start on the bike. The run was uneventful. Two hours on the bike. I felt like my race wheels were a bit slick due to all of the pollen accumulating on the road. That being said, lots of good hill work but a little wobbly on the descent. Still not used to the extra balance needed with the race wheels.

Tomorrow, an hour run. Not too shabby as I tailor back for St. Croix.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A second day of rest

Didn't make it to the Master's class last night but we did swim. The workout was rugged even without being yelled at and, of course, I slept like a log.

Today is a day of rest. Tomorrow, in preparation for St. Croix only a two hour ride and a bit of a run. Also on order, a pre-race massage.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The race wheels are on

I put my race wheels on so that I can get a practice ride in this weekend in preparation for St. Croix. My bike looks fast with its race wheels and so very pretty. Tune up, done. Race wheels, on. Training, in the bag. Grab the icebag and aleve, this is getting serious.

Up at 5:15 AM today which is like sleeping in until noon. Abs and pushups then on the bike for a 45 minute spin. Not too bad. This evening we head to Manassass for our Masters swim which will culminate in a restful night's sleep.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What a big mistake

Look at the video of the pro field climbing "the Beast" in St. Croix.

It is a 21% grade which levels out at some point to 11%. I can stay in the saddle on most days for a 16% grade unless I am tired. For a 21% grade I will be out of my saddle, hoping not to fall off, crash into another cyclist, or stop forward momentum. I am officially intimidated.

Brick workout today. I started with 30 minutes on the trainer, 20 of which were one legged drills. Then I ran 30 minutes completing 15 minutes of fartleks but oddly not elevating my heart rate to zone 4. Then I rode to work--it is a glorious day.

Tomorrow, on the trainer again (I think) then Masters swim in the evening.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A self-proclaimed snob

Up at 4:50 AM today. After the usual course of abs and pushups, off to the city pool for a swim.

I'm going to admit that I have become a snob despite the fact that I am not a great swimmer. The city pool hosts a huge Masters class, the likes of which I am not talented enough to join. These people move fast and very gracefully through the water. As for the other lanes, there are some side-strokers--recall a few weeks ago when I shared the lane with one who kept kicking me in the stomach--and some tarzan swimmers (those who swim with their head above water). Actually, my coach wants me to do some tarzan drills but I am always concerned that people will think that is how I swim. Plus, it is exhausting. Much easier to get that head in the water and bring those hips up.

I am a snob because I do not want to circle swim with tarzan or the side-stroker. They are too slow and interfere with the efficient completion of my workout. Imagine if that snobbery were reciprocated, where would I be in the pool--on the sidelines.

Tomorrow, a brick workout and hopefully a ride to work on my bike.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finally, a little length

It was pouring rain today and in the 60's. Near perfect running weather. About 2-3 miles into my run it started thunder and lightening. While the weather forecasters had accurately predicted the rain, I had heard nothing about thunder and lightening. I wasn't sure whether I should stick to my route or try to stay close to shelter but I opted for the former thinking if lightening struck me I would go out with a smile on my face.

I was definitely soaked early in the run but as I got closer to the river things changed. The rain let up and it was very windy. The wind helped get some of the excess water out of my shirt and shorts. Surprisingly, my Newtons shed water well thus my feet did not feel weighted down in the least. The best part of the rain was that it took my mind entirely off of my aches and pains and I was able to run for an hour and 45 minutes. It was not a fast 11 miles or very pretty, but it was, finally, a long run.

Tomorrow, a day of rest and I will take it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A bad day to be a bug

A four hour ride on tap for today and the weather could not have been more perfect. We started out with arm warmers but quickly shed them in the 70 degree air.

There were several bug incidents. First, while going downhill at 35 mph a bee hit me just to the left of my mouth. That was quite painful and left a bit of a mark but I did not, mercifully, connect with the stinger. Later, while in the aero position I took out a monarch butterfly no doubt on its inaugural flight of its life. It somehow just caught my shoulder and dropped flutterlessly to the ground. A short time later, I had unzipped my shirt because I was hot. Sure enough, again in the aero position, I trapped what I thought was another bee in my bra. I stopped immediately and fished it out, grateful to know that it was only a beetle.

It was very windy today so a great day to practice balance. It also proved refreshing in the first hot day of the season. My black shorts were intensely radiating the sun's rays.

After our ride, I went on a 15 minute brick run. While I was away there was more drama involving bugs. Apparently a police officer had dropped off another biker in the parking lot who got a bug stuck in her ear and was bleeding. Kind of gross. The poor woman had to go to the emergency room to get it flushed out.

Tomorrow, I hope a long run in the neighborhood of 90 minutes.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No meat on Fridays

Much like my youth when we did not eat meat on Fridays, there is no exercise on Fridays.

Last night's swim class was tough. Of course, the water was freezing and our workout was challenging. The first time through the multiple sets seemed easy. The second time through nearly killed me. One of the sets involved 8 x 25 meters on15 seconds rest. You get 4, then 3, then 2, then 1 breath to make it across. My coach says I do not relax during this drill. How can I? With only one or two breaths that wall is mighty far away.

Needless to say, I slept like I was dead. My riding partner wants to head to Skyline Drive tomorrow. I'm a little undecided. Two weeks out from St. Croix I do not think 3,000 feet of climbing would be good for my piriformis/hamstring issues. Then again, I do not want her to have to ride up there alone. I have a few hours to weigh my options.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Don't pass me

Up at 5:15 AM today. Ah, how nice to sleep in. Abs and pushups then a 4.6 mile run.

To say that I am getting slower seems an understatement. Today, a guy passed by me twice--coming and going. I did note that he slowed after he passed me and if I were 100% that would have been incentive enough to hunt him down and show him who can and cannot run. I could not answer back. Instead, I loped along, me and my 9:30 minute miles. Come on old gal, find your legs.

Tonight, swimming with the Masters.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tered tax procrastinators

Up at 4:45 AM today. After the abs and pushups, off to the pool.

I am amazed how many people at the Y and swimming in the pool were exhausted because they were up late doing their taxes. Really? I can be a procrastinator, for instance in the pool, but never with taxes. Very intriguing.

The swim was 300 meters longer than I had time for but I did manage to get off 2,400 meters. I could have done more but as I said I am a self-confessed procrastinator in the pool. I may be the first one entering the pool but I am the last one entering the water. It is swim lessons from my childhood all over again.

Taking my bike in for a pre-race tuneup tonight. Tomorrow, a medium run and swimming in the evening with the masters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Always competing

Up at 4:30 AM today, slightly before the alarm. After the usual abs and pushups I hopped on the bike for an hour. Today was a brick which to date I have run in reverse--run first, bike second. Tempting to do it today given the 42 degree air temperature and my sweaty head but I rode first then ran for 25 minutes.

All things considered, the brick felt pretty good. Perhaps the cold air helped me focus on getting it done vs. focusing on what hurt. I came upon my neighbor as I was running. She was about 300 yards in front of me and for several minutes I contemplated trying to catch her. I am used to being the one passing people but as of late I get passed. I resigned to defeat without any effort, my neighbor unaware of the potential for competition. It would have been easy to sneak up on her from a distance if I had my normal running legs but alas today I had to settle for what my body can give me.

Tomorrow, I think I will head back to the pool in an attempt to get my three swims in before the weekend.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Making the video work

I hit the pool today after watching the critique and videotaping from my masters swim class. I thought I looked better then I actually feel--I almost look like a swimmer. My major work continues to be correcting my entry. My hands cross, I have no idea why but they cross over the center of my body which makes you zig and zag through the water. One day I will get it all down, for now I still have work today.

Meanwhile, I ripped off 2,500 in the pool today. It felt good but I was certainly tired. It is hard to get in the pool when you are tired but it does make you feel good.

Tomorrow, a brick, I think. The morning temperature is only supposed to be 30. I sure will be glad when spring arrives.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Finally, a decent run

I was able to get off a 90 minute run today. It was not pretty but it is my longest run to date and that gives me a huge boost of confidence leading up to St. Croix.

After my run, I went back to the hills to ride another hour. My legs were dead but I was happy to get in some more miles. I ran for 15 minutes more after the bike. It was my first correctly ordered brick, despite its short length.

Tomorrow, in the pool. I would have liked to have landed in the pool today but I just did not have it in me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A late ride

Due to my miscommunication, my riding partner and I did not get out on our bikes until 2:30--very late. We worked hills today and riding skills. It was not a long ride, only 2 hours, but it was quality over quantity. When I returned home I went for a 25 minute run. The weather today was ideal, my first time in shorts despite a few rain drops. There is a huge difference between riding at 38 degrees in the rain and riding at 75 in the rain.

As I was a bit short on my ride today, I think I will try to go for a ride tomorrow after what I hope will be a 90 minute run. I need a little confidence boost before St. Croix in just a few short weeks.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A restful night and day

That late night swimming is dreadful--until done--but wow, do you sleep well after. My coach was yelling at me last night trying to perfect my form. We did one set of 18 50's with 15, then 10, then 5 seconds rest. It sounds worse than it was. I like working on the shorter distances because you can focus on your form. When you do a long distance set your form gets crappy as you get tired and you end up fighting against yourself.

Today, is a day of rest. Tomorrow, I am hoping for a long ride outside but the weather is calling for rain.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A ride

Up at 5:00 AM. Abs and pushups, a confrontation with Buddy and Asbury to jump start the heart (Buddy posts another win), then on to the trainer.

2o minutes of one-legged drills today followed by a very different interval--5 minutes of zone 3 at 60 plus RPM followed by 2 minutes of zone 4 at 90 RPM. Let me tell you, getting your legs to rotate fast after tiring them in a high gear is a bit of a struggle. Certainly more than I expected. I knocked on the door of zone 4 but I could not quite wedge my way in.

Tonight, swimming with the Masters. Plenty of zone 4 and zone 5 action guaranteed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Just a run

Up at 5:15 AM today, wahoo. Abs and pushups then off for a run. I did a lot of stretching before and after, trying to be kind to the old body. My foot felt pretty good on the run. There is a bit of a pull but I think that may be the taping of the foot not necessarily the plantar fascititis. The piriformis and hamstring are not pleasant but I have taken my anti-inflammatories and will ice at work. No overnight miracles, just incremental steps toward healing...I hope.

Tomorrow, an hour bike and then Masters swim in the evening.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New hope and a brick

Last evening, I went to yet another doctor for my foot and leg. I am trying a taping technique for the plantar fascitis and while I had doubts you could create a strong taping application to simulate strength to the plantar fascia those doubts are dissipating. Today I was able to test the taping out on a run and I have to say that my foot was nearly pain free.

As for my leg, the new doctor is moving away from the diagnosis of sciatica and instead has said that I have severe tendonitis in the piriformis and hamstring. The tests he performed confirmed this diagnosis and were quite believeable. He feels my problem is coming from the bike which makes perfect sense to me. The solutions we are working with are adding a lift to my shoe to give my foot more outward float and changing my cranks from 172 mm to 168 mm. This will create less stress on the hamstring and piriformis. Of course, as long as I have to change my cranks I might as well lighten them too so I am looking into carbon cranks.

As for the physical side, there was some talk about reducing my bike miles--ignored. He added some new stretches that are less likely to aggravate the hamstring and piriformis while still providing some stretch to the area, ice baths after exercise (I'll start with ice packs and accept the title of wimp), and a 4 week course of anti-inflammatories (which admittedly I typically do not use--I hate pharmaceuticals). There are further steps that were suggested but for the moment I am going to religiously stick to these and see how I do. My goal would be to get back to a point in time where I can lace up my running shoes and go get lost on the road for an hour or two without complaint of pain. Of course, thereafter I'll be jonesing for speed but I'm trying to be a realist.

The brick this morning was a tiny bit better on the run but, of course, the leg still hurts coming off the bike. By the weekend ride I hope to have the lift in my shoe and the cranks on order. As for now, I still wonder whether St. Croix will be a DNF.

Monday, April 07, 2008

A recovery swim?

Up at 4:45 AM today, could definitely have slept until noon. Abs, pushups then off to the pool.

I thought I had a recovery swim today and did I ever need one. I am sore from my ride yesterday and swimming is always best to move around the built up lactic acid--of course I could have helped myself by taking some recoverase yesterday but I didn't think my ride worthy enough.

In the pool, I took every set in isolation. Toward the end, I thought I was swimming a 4 x 200 when after the 4th I looked again and disappointedly discovered it was actually 8 x 200. Momma. Not what I was expecting. Nonetheless, I finished the darned workout and now I could eat a house.

Tomorrow, not sure, I think possibly a brick. This afternoon on to a new doctor to help with my sciatica....I hope.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Huffing and puffing

The weather forecasters were dead wrong. Instead of today being the better day, it is raining. After painting for 4 hours I belatedly headed out on my bike. I opted for the very flat and not so great W&OD trail instead of my hill ride. Why, because if I got caught in a downpour I had better options for escape.

Due to the flat terrain, I worked on cadence. I was spinning like there was no tomorrow. My panting surprised even me and may have startled a few horses. At the end of the day I logged in 52 miles but I was tired. I would like to have gotten in a little run as a brick workout but it was so late when I returned all I could think about was food.

Tomorrow, back in the pool and will I ever need it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Stretching out the run

My coach suggested augmenting my long run with the stairmaster to try and stretch out my running legs in the hope I can cover 13.1 miles in less than 4 weeks. The forecast called for a 70% chance of rain all day so in lieu of a long solo ride (my riding partner is unavailable) I opted for my long run and a swim.

After an hour run, I landed at the Y. I jumped on the stairmaster for an hour at the Y and then ran an additional 2 miles home. All things considered, it wasn't bad. Things hurt but not overwhelmingly and I still had some pep when I got home. Let's hope this plan works.

Upon consuming some calories I went to the city pool. Indeed this was my second time there this week. All went well. I completed my to do list, which included a dreaded 1,000 meter set, and headed home. Unlike past weeks, I did not need a nap.

Tomorrow, a long bike ride.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Inspiration from a 4 legged friend

As today is a day of rest, I will share some unfortunate news in our household. My long-time running partner of 9 years, Della, was diagnosed with bone cancer. The cancer is on her right hip and while she is in considerable discomfort, I have no doubt that she would at this very moment willingly head out the door with me on a run.

Over the last two years, I have only run with her when I was recovering from an injury figuring that her aging body would keep me from going too fast. Our last run was not very long ago, in fact it was my first run on March 1 subsequent to my foot surgery. She proudly paced me and smiled the entire way.

Della's running days are over and even as we learn of information on her condition, options for palliative care and life expectancy, she still smiles at me pining for an invitation to join me when I lace up my running shoes. She cannot tell me how much pain she is in but I'm pretty sure my aches and pains are de minimis in comparison. I will treasure the days that remain and, with a smile on my face, I will always reflect fondly on our runs.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A new twist

Up at 5:45 today. I'm in Birmingham, AL and happy to be here despite the meat oriented atmosphere. In an attempt to stretch my running legs out, my coach suggested complementing my running training on the stairmaster. Today, I did just that. 30 minutes on the stairmaster followed by a 30 minute run.

I was definitely hitting my zones which is great for conditioning. The running could feel a lot better but it also was not quite as painful as Sunday. I'm definitely going to work the stairmaster in.

Tomorrow, after a late flight back this evening, a day of rest.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Oh no

Up at 4:40 AM today, the usual abs and pushups with Della and Buddy standing guard. Off to the pool.

Naturally, I left my workout on the table at home but I had memorized most of it and stayed true to the workout. In the lane next to me there was some boyfriend and girlfriend cavorting in the deep end. People, it's 6 AM. Do I have to see that so early in the morning? Another good swim, surprising given my back to back swim days. I think I might have made another helpful discovery today but I am going to hold off on disclosing it until I can test my hypothesis further.

Off to Birmingham today so I will get a run in tomorrow. I am also going to try to pair my runs with time on the stairmaster---a recommendation from my coach in response to my fretting about the current state of my run.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dude....your leg

Up at 4:40 AM, the usual abs and pushups. Off to the local city pool.

Chinquapin is a bit colder but for some reason I also find the water to be thinner--easier to move through. I can't explain why the Y pool is sometimes jello-like but it is. Chinquapin was very crowded. There is a pretty large masters programs full of type-A triathletes (one of which tried to cut in front of me as I was entering a shower stall later--ladies, please). I was sharing a lane with a guy who I thought at first was doing my one arm drills but as it turns out he was actually doing some never before seen version of the sidestroke. When kicking, his entire leg entered into my path. Needless to say, I was kicked several times, thrice in the bread basket. I do not mind a little contact, good triathlon prep, but I could do without the bread basket shot. Next to me in the other lane was a guy who created a geyser everytime he kicked with his right leg. He was on my right, while breathing on my left I could see the geyser overhead. It was rather funny.

Anyhow, a good swim--no, I am not feverish. Tomorrow, back to the Y for another swim.