Sunday, August 29, 2004

Lots of Biking

Happy Sunday! 4 weeks to Westchester (gulp!), and counting!

Yesterday morning we had our longest BRick GTS yet. We all met in Central Park, and rode 2 full loops (6M each), then lower loops to make up 1:30. I lost count of the lower loops, and my bike computer isn't working, so I don't know exactly how far I rode - but I did at least 23M. We then ran a :30 OAB. Yikes! I did not sleep well on Friday night (damn that Memphis!) and felt it on the run. I really dig biking now, though, especially once I get started.

Things learned Saturday:
- A bowl of cereal 1:30 before a big workout is not enough food
- Don't carry a PowerBar in a side pocket while running
- Gu rocks (OK, I already knew that)
- I can drink a LOT of water/Gatorade

After the workout we had a mentor fashion show, where we discussed our options in tri clothing - brands, styles, etc. I think I'm pretty set for the race - I have Zoot tri shorts and a tri sports bra that I'll wear for the swim, and I'll put the TNT singlet over top for the bike and run. In fact, as I was putting clothes away tonight, I realized that the drawer I have dedicated to training clothes is too full!

This afternoon, Kari & I embarked on a ride up 9W (a route just across the George Washington Bridge, that eventually leads to Nyack and Bear Mountain). Getting to GWB is somewhat complicated (and smelly!), but once across the bridge and through the scary traffic on the other side, we had a lovely ride! We plan to go next weekend for a longer ride.

Overall I feel strong. This week's training schedule is even tougher than last's, and I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Proof I was there

Leaving the transition area to start the bike

Alanna, Larry & I bringing up the rear

Training training and more training

Tuesday I Ferris Buellered. David stayed home, too. I mostly lazed around, did some sitting on the roof. In the afternoon I went for a bike ride (4xPP) then David came out for a run, and we did 1 loop of the park. So even though there wasn't a BRick on this week's calendar, I squeezed one in.

Last night we had a real swim workout. I learned that it is easier to swim 100m in a 25m pool than in a 50m pool. We did pool lengths: 4x50m, 3x100m, and 1x400m. I was pretty beat by the end, and I'm a little sore this morning.

Probably going to take today as a recovery day and swim again tomorrow. On Saturday we have a long BRick scheduled - 1h30m bike, followed by 30min run. Oh and the whole thing will be preceded by push ups to exhaustion, to simulate the swim. Whee!

Monday, August 23, 2004

I wasn't last on Saturday...

But I was close. The chip results showed:

Run 1: 30:29
TRAN1: 1:44
Bike: 1:23:54
TRAN2: 2:07
Run 2: 36:53

Total Time: 2:35:06

I raced as Athena (150+ lbs) and learned later that the 3rd place Athena had a time of 2:35:05. Huh.

Back in the Saddle

On Sunday, for the first time in weeks, I didn't set my alarm. I woke up just before 10, in time for David & I to go to yoga. The session was really nice (have I mentioned how great Jill is?). We went for post-yoga brunch and on being informed by our waitress that they didn't have wheat toast, I burst into tears. Uh, yeah. Exhaustion rears its ugly head. David was totally cool with my hysterics - he cancelled our order and let me cry it out.

I did some work from home in the afternoon, and David in all his awesomeness persuaded me to go for a bike ride, however brief. I did a few loops of the park and felt pretty good about it. We went to a friend's for dinner, and made it to bed by 11.

This morning I got up at 6:30 and went for a run in the park. It was perfect. I was smart this time and ate a Gu before I left, and was able to run 2 loops (!) of the park for a total of about 6.7M, in about 1h8min. I felt great, and I'm less discouraged than I was on Saturday.

I also have really great support. I wrote to Meredith on Saturday to get her advice, and she was great. Also, my fellow TNTers have been just awesome. There were some great emails going around today about how everyone found the race difficult. There's another local sprint on September 12, but I'm signed up that day to do the NYC Century Bike Tour (no, not 100 miles, I'll probably do 35 or 55). I may try to find another one on Labour Day weekend.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

What I Learned

Holy cranky Batman! I was in a really bad mood after the duathlon this morning. But I did learn a few things.

1. Have an extra pair of water-friendly shoes. I only had my running and bike shoes with me today, which forced me to stand around in my wet sneaks before the race. If I'd brought a pair of flipflops, I would have been able to keep my other shoes dry until I needed them.

2. Bring extra water bottles. Lots of them. I drank all my water and Cytomax on the bike, and that got me through, but I could probably have used another liter or more after the race.

3. Eat well in the days leading up to the race. Duh.

4. Sleep well in the days leading up to the race. Also duh.

5. Bring pump on race. I know, I know. My excuse for this one is that my frame pump that fits below my crossbar always falls off when I pick up my bike. Solution? A velcro strap. Need to get one of those.

6. Bring the right food to eat before the race. Eat something high fiber before leaving the hotel room, for obvious reasons.

7. Bring a change of clothes. Also obvious, but I only had one long-sleeve shirt (my jacket) and it was soaked before I even picked up my race packet.

8. Tighten the lids on my water bottles. One of them leaked all over my backpack, which would not have been a problem except that I threw my cell phone in there. (The cell phone is drying now, and hopefully will still work!)

I'm a little discouraged, but looking forward to Westchester. I have a better idea now of what I need to accomplish in the next 5(!) weeks.

Dansbury Schmansbury

The Danbury Try the Tri was this morning. From the title of this post, you can approximate how it went. For those readers who are into that sort of thing, I'll give you some details as well.

Background: I have had the craziest week at work. The earliest I left was 7pm, and even then I worked after 10 for two hours. Most nights I've been here until between 10-midnight. I've been eating horribly all week. My only workouts were a pathetic bike ride on Sunday, a decent 5M run on Tuesday, and a short (~500m) swim on Thursday.

Yesterday I left work at 5pm. I grabbed a cab to Ultimate Triathlon in midtown, thinking I should get a real top for my first triathlon. I found a nice one by Zoot, and also bought a race number belt and speed laces. Whee! I was home by 6:30pm. I relaced my shoes, and assembled all my race stuff into a couple of bags (I know, there's a lot of stuff!). I loaded everything into Shiny (my friend Andrew's shiny Camry, which I borrowed just for the occassion - it was named by his 9-yr old daughter), and drove off to the Upper West Side to fetch Kari.

We were on the road just before 9pm. The drive to Danbury was uneventful, except for a brief moment of panic when we thought we were on the wrong highway. We arrived at our hotel just after 10. Our roomies, Nan & Eppie from TNT, hadn't checked in yet. Kari & I set our alarms for 5:30am, and went to bed.

We woke up this morning, got our stuff together, and went down to the car. A bunch of other TNTers were loading up in the parking lot, and it was raining - but gently. We drove to Dunkin Donuts and bought bagels and coffee, then drove to the tri site.

By this point it was pouring. Torrentially, you might even say. We stood in line in the rain to pick up our race packets and numbers, then ran back to the car to try to stay dry. Ha. It poured until about 7:15 (start time was 7:30). We took our bikes out and set them up in the transition area (which was soaked!), then learned that because of lightning the swim would be cancelled, and replaced with an additional 5k run.

At 7:45, off we went. I started a little too fast (as I am apt to do), but paced and finished the run in just over 30 min. My transition to the bike was pretty quick, and I headed out up the killer first hill.

I am unprepared to ride up big hills. It was incredibly difficult. I could see the crest, though, and knew I was close to the top, when I heard from behind me, "Fuck! I have a flat. Fuck!" It was Larry, a fellow TNT teammate. He pulled over, and I stopped to ask if he needed help. He waved me on. I asked if he knew how to fix it. He said he'd never done it before. So, in the interest of good karma (and in the spirit of the Special Olympics that is TNT) I stopped to help him. We fixed the flat, and I set off to continue the race.

Admittedly at this point, I was 10-15 minutes behind, and I had lost some momentum. Going up another rather steep hill, my chain fell off. I stopped, put it back on, and noticed at that point that my tires were both low. And my pump? In the car. At that point, Larry rode by and asked if I was OK. I told him my tires needed air, and he stopped to help. Go TNT! Moments later, Alanna (my swim drafting buddy) walked back to us. She had stopped a few meters ahead because her brake was rubbing against her tire. We fixed that, and set off again.

I felt terrible. I was way behind, the hills were hard, I wasn't mentally prepared, and I definitely wasn't physically prepared. I had treated the race casually, and I did not expect to have to bike AFTER running. Also, see above re: the week prior to the tri.

Larry, Alanna and I entered the transition area together. Someone yelled, "Great race, guys!" and we replied, "We're not finished yet!" She looked at first disbelieving, then surprised, then said, "Oh! Go! Good luck!" It was pretty funny.

The second run took 36min (we slacked a little).

Race times of course aren't up yet, but my own timing showed:
Run 1, 1st half: 15.43
Run 1, 2nd half: 14.47
T1: 2.36
Bike, 1st half: 47.54
Bile, 2nd half: 35.36
T2: 2.12
Run 2: 36.14

Total time: 2:35

Now for the math: Assume the tire change took 12 minutes. Subtracting that, the whole race would have taken 2:23. Not too terrible. And if I'd picked it up on the second run, I could have done that in 30min as well. Total: 2:17. Even that is pretty slow, I would have liked to finish closer to 2:05.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Happy Birthday Candace!

It's a day late... But Happy Birthday to 50% of my readership!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Another Saturday, another GTS

Hard to believe, but Westchester is only 6 weeks away. By this time on September 26, I will officially be a triathlete!

Not counting next Saturday's sprint, of course.

Yesterday we had a group BRick in Prospect Park. Coach ken was onhand to explain the workout - very straightforward, 1 warmup loop of the park, followed by 4 loops (13.4M) for beginners, or 6 (20.1M) for advanced. Then a quick transition, and 1 loop running.

I opted for the shorter distance, and had pretty even splits. During my last loop Ken rode with me for a few minutes, and instructed me to drop my heels, pick up my cadence (keep it at or above 90) and to increase my gear. On Friday night I had oiled my seat post, and I think I repositioned it slightly lower than Scott's adjustment, which is probably why my heels were still elevated. Anyway, I finished the bike with good splits, transitioned, and set off running.

At the start of the run I ate (drank?) a Gu, and gulped down a small bottle of water (that I then tossed, as I still don't like running while holding a water bottle). After about a mile, my right foot really hurt. I was wearing new running shoes that I'd purchased the day before, and they seemed to be pressing down too much on the top of my foot. I stopped and loosened the laces, but it didn't help much - I ultimately ended up alternating between running and walking for the remainder of the loop. (Despite that I finished the run portion in <35min, which works out to <10:30min/mile!)

I bought the shoes at Super Runners, which has a great reputation for returns, so I'll take them back tomorrow.

This morning I had planned to do a short ride in the park before yoga, but instead slept in. It's been rainy here (thanks to Charley), but is clear now, and if it stays like this I'll probably ride this afternoon.

For the record, here are yesterday's split times:

Lap 1: 12.53
Lap 2: 13.18
Lap 3: 13.26
Lap 4: 12.56

It's finally feeling like a real routine - hard to believe Westchester is exactly 6 weeks away, and then it'll be all over!

Yesterday I met my Brooklyn teammates in Prospect Park for a BRick. Coach Ken was there to greet us and explain the workout, which consisted of a single loop warmup, then 4 loops (13.4M - beginner) or 6 (20.1 - advanced) at steady state. Then a quick transition, and a loop running.

I had fairly even splits on the bike - about halfway through my 4th loop, Ken rode up beside me and gave me a few instructions (drop your heels, increase your cadence, switch to a higher gear). When I completed the loop I nearly fell off my bike entering the "transition" area (note to self: If you unclip your right foot, lean to the right!). I quickly slipped off my helmet, gloves, and bike shoes, pulled on my new running shoes, grabbed a small bottle of water, and headed out.

As I started the run, I ate (drank?) a packet of Gu, and downed the water so I could throw the bottle away (still haven't figured out exactly how to run holding water - the splashing really throws me off). I noticed my right toes were numb, and the top of my foot hurt. I stopped to loosen the laces, then started running again. It was disheartening. The new shoes - not so good. I ended up alternating between walking and running for the majority of the loop - somehow, despite this, I finished in under 35min (<10.30min/M). I'll take the shoes back on Monday - I bought them at Super Runners, who have a good reputation for returns.

After practice we ate bagels, peanut butter, and M&M's (thanks to Amy, the sole Brooklyn mentor).

By next week at this time, I will have completed my first (albeit sprint) triathlon! Yikes!

For the record, my bike splits were:

Lap 1: 12.53
Lap 2: 13.18
Lap 3: 13.26
Lap 4: 12.56

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Training Updates

Last night's 3/4M swim was cancelled - the pool closed because of a thunderstorm. I decided to go to Eastern Athletic (the gym to which I pay exhorbitant membership fees and don't use) to do the workout anyway. I was very curious to see how long it would take me to swim that far.

I started with a 100m warmup, then began my timer. I swam 1 mile (!) in 39 minutes. I'm thrilled with that time. I'm also realistic - that was in a 25m pool, which means pushing off the wall every 25m. As opposed to Riverbank, which is 50m, or, say, the Long Island Sound, which has no walls. The best thing though, was that my breathing was calm, I stopped and rested a couple of times when I needed to, and when I left the water, I wasn't winded or tired. Good stuff.

Friday after work I plan to swim at Riverbank, then meet with Walter to do a max HR test on the track there.

This morning, I even managed to get up and do a loop of Prospect Park! I definitely need to work on nutrition/hydration in my morning runs - I was pretty tired about 2/3 of the way through, and I think a shot of Gu would have helped significantly.

Speaking of Gu, I'm fully convinced that stuff is magic. I was exhausted last night before I even started my swim, and debated not even going, then I remembered I still had a Gu in my bag that I hadn't needed at Tuesday night's run. I ate that just before my swim, and it worked wonders for my energy level!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sad News

My friend and coworker Stephanie emailed me recently to tell me that Len lost his battle with Leukemia. He died on Tuesday July 27 at 2:30pm.

She wrote, "I just got back from Knoxville. I told his family that you will be running (and biking and swimming) for him this fall, and they wanted me to extend their appreciation to you.

"...Len asked that donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and to the Pete Gross House at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (it's like a Ronald McDonald House for adults being treated for cancer at the hospital there, many of whom suffer from blood cancers)."

I know how important Len was to Stephanie, and my heartfelt condolences go to her, and his family. My Westchester Tri will be dedicated to Len. Please donate now to help people like Len in the fight against cancer!

HR Training

I don't know my maximum heart rate.

According to the chart (you know, the one on the wall at the gym with ages and a target zone), my max is 186, and I should be training between 109 and 154. Well, Sunday when I biked, my avg. HR was 162 - maybe a little high. I'm going to meet up with Walter the Nutritionist later in the week to do a max HR test. Then I can focus on training in zones based on percentage of maximum. This is how "real" endurance athletes train, and it makes a lot of sense - I expect we haven't talked about it much in TNT simply because there are so many people in the group.

The intensity of training has picked up, and will continue until we taper before race day. We're counting down - only 6 weeks to go! Eek! Lately my life has revolved around training and working. This also happens to be the most intense time at work, so I'm not sleeping as much as I should be, nor am I socializing as much as I'd like to be. The upside of all this is, I love my job, and I love training.

Tonight's swim GTS is a .75M TT. I'm going to eat well today, and during the swim I'm going to take it slow, and focus on regular breathing. I'm expecting to take 35-37min.

Open Water Redux

Last night after our running GTS (Central Park, 3 x Lower Loop (1.7M), 53min - for those of you keeping rack) Kari & I met up with David to see "Open Water."

Which, yeah. It kind of made me want to stick with triathlons that have lake swims.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bike Workouts

According to the Westchester August training schedule, every Sunday is bike day! This past weekend, we were prescribed a 1:30 ride, with TT intervals. I headed back to Prospect Park (I'm getting dizzy from riding around in circles there!) for my workout.

I started at the 9th St. park entrance, and warmed up to the Parthenon (this big Italian-looking construct near the Coney Island Ave. exit out of the park). I used that as my TT starting point, and rode 3 loops. After the 3rd loop I recovered back to 9th St., then did 2 more TT loops.

I biked a total of about 20.5M, in about 1:25. Not terrible, not great. My splits were good, though:

Lap 1 12.59
Lap 2 13.27
Lap 3 13.30
Lap 4 13.12
Lap 5 13.06

Monday, August 09, 2004

Open Water

Saturday morning our GTS took place in Coney Island. I know Krusty says it's Tijuana, but my vote for happiest place on Earth goes to Coney Island. I love it there, and was very happy to have our open water swim clinic there.

We met on the boardwalk near the NY Aquarium at 9am. Coaches Scott, Earl and Ken were all present with many words of advice. We paired up (Anna was my buddy), passed around magic markers to write our names on our swim caps, and hauled our stuff down to the beach. The advanced group went with Scott and Ken, and the beginners stayed with Earl to practice open water skills, like treading water. The water was surprisingly warm. We warmed up with a short OAB around Earl, then went in a little deeper to practice treading water and removing/replacing our goggles, in case the need to do so arises during a race. We swam a few more short OABs, and talked more about remembering to stay calm.

After the swim, both groups met back on the beach to do an easy run along the boardwalk. Kari and I ran together - an easy 5M along the boardwalk.

It was a great workout!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Before Westchester...

There will be Danbury!

That's right folks, I signed up for my first triathlon, the Danbury Try the Tri! I'm excited. Nervous, but excited. It's a short race, 500 yard swim, 12M bike, 5k run. Let's see, that should take me... :15 + 1:00 + :30 = 1:45. Plus transitions, of course.

Shari did this race in June, and says the bike course is hilly. It is. Hopefully all that training in Prospect Park will serve me well!

Speaking of which, this morning I did a BRick in PP. 4 loops biking (~14M) and a loop run (3.35M). It took about 1:40, including the transition of biking home and lugging my bike into the lobby of my building. My bike splits are still pretty uneven - over the 3 I timed this morning I had a 45 second differential between the fastest and slowest. Still need to work on that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The results are in!

The results from Saturday's race are posted on the New York Road Runners website. My official (net) time was 48:59!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Central Park Run

Kari, Shari and I on a recent Tuesday evening (photo taken by Connie, the Official Photographer of Team in Training!)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Look! We Won!

Shari & I post-race. Dig those medals.

My First Race!

I did it!

I ran my first race!

This morning did not get off to a great start. First of all, I was at work until almost 2am. I decided to treat the <4 hours of sleep I was going to get as a nap, and set my watch alarm for 5:45am so I could be out the door by 6:15 to meet Shari. I slept through my alarm. I woke up, at 6:20 and couldn't figure out how much time I had, exactly. I called Shari and told her I'd be about 15 minutes late. I showered quickly, dressed, packed a Harvest Bar and a packet of Gu and hurried out the door. David got up long enough to find me some safety pins and take a pre-race picture of me with my number (4401).

Shari and I didn't meet in the designated spot (a subway platform in Brooklyn) but found each other on the Upper East Side, a few blocks from the starting line. We used the facilites (yuck), stowed our bags in the baggage area, then headed for the starting line. We saw a few other Team in Training-ers. Around 8:45, we were off!

Running in a race is definitely different. I felt a bit claustrophobic at the starting line - there were a couple thousand people, and it was at first difficult to establish pace. The crowd thinned out, and I got off to a strong start. When I checked my time at the first mile, I couldn't believe it: 9:22! Before the race my goal was to finish in under 52:00, so I was off to a great start. Mile 2 was mostly downhill, and I was again surprised when I checked my time: 9:09. Yes, really. At around the halfway point I started to feel really crappy, so I walked for about 45 seconds. I admit that I figured I could still beat my goal given the pace I went for the first 2 miles. The 3rd mile took me 10:04. The 4th mile was the worst. I ran some and walked more. I attribute this part to lack of sleep - I just felt icky. My time for that mile was 10:52. Ugh.

However. When I saw that marker for the end of mile 4, I got really excited, and kicked it up a little. I even sprinted at the end.

My final time: 49:19. (It may actually be a few seconds faster, as I forgot to stop my watch as I crossed the finish line!)

I'm super super happy with this time. I did not expect to run it in under 50 minutes! And even more amazing was that David was waiting for me at the finish line, absolutely drenched (did I mention it poured for most of the race?)! I was thrilled to see him. Thanks for coming, babe!

Oh, and we all got semi-dorky medals at the finish line. Aw. I haven't won a medal since I won a high school math competition. I wore it proudly, along with my race number, on the subway after the race.