Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cute little bricklet

Today was supposed to be a heavy-duty, serious brick. But life got in the way. I forgot to wear my watch to our 10 a.m. play date, and by the time it occurred to me to check the hosts' kitchen clock, it was quarter past 1! Here's hoping we get invited back. I had a whee of a time visiting with the parents, and the kids played without conflict the whole time.

So, I was able to start my brick around 3:15, and I had to be done by 4:30. I biked for only 30 minutes, but I knew I had a time limit, so I pedaled in a low gear, whipping the pedals around as quickly as I could manage for the time I had to ride. I threw the bike back on the car rack, locked it up tight, traded clippie shoes for running shoes and took off for my run. It went surprisingly well. It was hot and humid and I was tired, but it felt really good to run today. Slow but steady finishes the race, as they say. I do want to finish out the schedule as planned so I can actually enjoy race day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Making lemonade

June 26th swim

Things are getting hectic with the schedule this summer! I went to a meeting at 7 a.m., and then scooted straight over to the high school pool, so I could swim. I swam for 45 minutes, which tracked the schedule for a change. It was just not fun, at least not as fun as swimming at the lake. I tried to focus on form, and I did try varying my speed. Again, I hesitate to call it sprinting, but I went slow and steady, then sped up, then back to slow and steady, to try to increase my speed. I am just glad to get in a workout per the plan. I'm hoping to do the same with tomorrow's brick.

June 25th activity

I was scheduled to do a bike-run brick which required me to get out to the lake, so my mom could watch the kid. I was late leaving work, and by the time I got into bike shorts, it was 20 after 6. Here is where I got lemons.

I did not want to have the kid up super late due to an eagerly anticipated birthday party on the 26th. So, I made lemonade. The kid has just learned to ride his bike without training wheels, and he loves practicing the skill. I rode with him over to a nearby park, and we rode around for about half an hour, until he got going so fast he popped the chain off his bike. I didn't have a phillips head screwdriver with me, which I needed to access the front gear on his little bike. So, he walked his bike back, while I practiced balancing and cruising very slowly, to save the clippie shoes. I really need to bring spare shoes when I ride with my clippie shoes. It always seems to come back to them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Firefly running

I bagged the chalk talk about the swim last night in favor of a dinner celebrating the return of DH and the kid. I did go out for a late run tonight, after tuck-in. The team did a stair workout today, but tonight was our last family dinner until the local music festival (and DH's summer job) ends in 11 days, so I enjoyed dinner and put the workout off until a bit later.

It was hot and humid, and my joints were pretty achy. But, I persevered. I ran for a total of 39 minutes, and I spent about half the time running at an increased pace (it would be a stretch to call it sprinting, so I won't), from one tree to the next, jog, run, jog, repeat. I hope that the increased effort will pay off on the big day. I felt pretty tired at the end of it all. The best part of the run was all of the fireflies. Crazy numbers, glowing all over. They make me happy, and so in spite of a being a big, sweaty mess now, I feel pretty good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Swimming before the sirens

Today was a weird one, weather wise. It was much warmer than predicted, and I was happy to get into the cold lake for my swim after work. There was a decent wind, which made just enough chop that I got a lungful of water any time I let my thoughts wander. I focused on my stroke, and kept an eye on the skies as well. The forecast had called for thunderstorms, but the clouds weren't really the right sort. The sky had that weird color it gets when a big storm is coming, but then the sun kept breaking through the clouds. I swam for about 3o minutes, and by that time I was back to the dock.

I did a quick transition, and then I headed off on the bike. I did not like how the skies were looking after about 20 minutes, so I turned around and rode back the way I had come. The rain held off, but I was really glad to be almost home within 40 minutes of starting the ride, because I got a flat in my rear tire. I walked the last little bit of my route, and got my bike to the shop just in time to get the tire replaced.

I drove home with the bike on the rack and pulled into the garage just as big, fat raindrops started plopping on my windshield. Within another hour, I was listening to tornado sirens and having my tv watching interrupted by constant weather reporting. It sounds like there may have been a touchdown about 15 miles south of where I was working out, and they are saying 20,000 people are without power!

I have to admit that I am a little bummed that I had to cut the workouts short, but in the grand scheme of things, I'll count today as a good, lucky day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swimming and biking

I got a bit of a later start than I had hoped on Saturday. My mid-morning workout turned into a late afternoon workout, thanks to super procrastination. Once I got started, it was a good workout out, though.

I swam for 40 minutes. It was a great day for a swim. It had been hot and humid all day, so it felt awesome to get into the cold lake water. I swam all breaststroke, and I was sighting fine. The water was pretty clear today, so I was watching fish again. I saw a perfect crawfish skeleton on the bottom of the lake, looking like it had been assembled from a kit. I got past two Canadian geese who were splashing around at each other, and just as I was turning around to swim back the way I came, I saw a family of swans - 2 adults and 4 or 5 little ones bobbing along behind.

I did a quick transition, and then hopped on the bike for a 50 minute ride. It was hillier than the other day, and the map my ride site says I went 8.89 miles today. I have a dickens of a time when I'm going uphill, and as soon as I get the gears right, I'm coasting downhill and I can't get my legs caught up to the pedals. I feel like I'm shifting all the time, and I'm not just pedaling and in a groove. But the good bike and my clippie shoes make it loads easier to ride than in past years, so I'm just going to keep practicing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More group running

I fully intended to do interval training at the squishy track I've heard so much about for my run workout tonight. Unfortunately, the field in the center of the track was full of lacrosse players, and I found that daunting on two counts: 1) I do not relish the thought of being conked in the head by an errant lacrosse ball, and 2) I do not like making a spectacle of myself, and the team(s?) were running drills. As I recall drills, they inevitably leave some number of players standing and waiting for their turn to go, and while the players wait, attention wanders, and the next thing you know, people are speculating about whether to offer emergency assistance to the purple faced 40-year-old woman who is dry heaving over on the track.

So I opted to go on the group run, which ironically had the potential to be a bit more private. I did not go the full three miles, but I did do some interval work, using lightposts as my visual cues. That worked about for about three intervals (sprint one, walk one, sprint two, walk two, sprint three, walk three), and then I started feeling pretty queasy. I jogged the normal pace then, and finally turned around and ran through some thicker grass just to change up how I was using my muscles during the jog. The group started filing past where I was, and then they were all past me. I felt good, and cooled down with a few minutes of walking at the end. We stretched for a bit after, and discussed the weekend's workouts.

I had been planning on doing two swim brick workouts this weekend, and I may still stick with that plan, since I won't be very likely to do any swimming during the week next week. The team is sticking with a brick of biking and running, starting early on Saturday morning. I don't think I'll be able to do the brick and get to my weight watchers meeting (I can choose 7, 8:30 or 10 for the meeting), and I don't want to skip that source of support and ideas. The start time and location of the team brick makes it impossible for me to do both.

To my chagrin, I have been gaining weight through all this training. It's not the muscle weighing more than fat thing. It's the "I worked out, so I am now entitled to eat an entire can of Pringles" thing. Ugh. Anyway, I can use all the help I can get with keeping my eating under control, so I think I'll have to stick with the meeting in the morning, and a workout of swimming around 10:30, followed by a bike. Then on Sunday I can swim and run, with any team members who care to join me. At least that's the plan tonight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Impromptu group run

June 14th workout

My tri team added an impromptu run into our training schedule on Monday. About 8 of us ran for 3 miles on a route that was new to me. I was dead last in the group, but I ran the whole way. It took me almost an hour, which is what I was dreading. The 20 minute mile. I do believe that the average person can walk a mile in less time. I am happy that I can run the whole distance, but I want to improve my pace.

Our next scheduled group workout is Wednesday night, and it too is scheduled to be a run. We are meeting at a newly refurbished track, and I think I will try some interval work on the track, if it's available for public use, rather than holding the group up during their run. I suppose I could do time limited intervals, as opposed to distance intervals, but I picture myself doing ladders like we did in track in the late 80's. Now if I could just find my black and neon yellow Umbro shorts, I'd be good to go....

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I got out on the bike this morning. I took a friend's advice and put the bike on the car rack and drove to an area I wanted to ride through. I looked on a bike-friendly route map of the general area and mentally planned my general route in advance. I decided that I wanted to go for about an hour, and I did ride just a bit more than an hour.

I enjoyed the ride - it was sunny and breezy, and there were tons of other cyclists out riding in the same area. I still don't really have the hang of shifting too well - I end up pumping really hard or whipping around when the terrain changes. I keep trying to learn this bike, but it may be more fancy than I can handle. I also almost fell off my bike at a stop sign. I was riding up to it, slowing down to a crawl, just so I wouldn't have to come to a complete stop, unclip my right foot, regain my balance, start pedaling and reclip my right foot. There was a car sitting at the stop sign, and it would not start going until I dismounted from the d*** bike. The driver's window was open, so I kept my choice opinions to myself, but I was awfully grouchy, once I got my right foot down and averted disaster.

I also noted that my rear tire was a bit more mashed down than I thought it should be, so I stopped and got the tire re-filled at a bike shop. I also stopped part-way through and sucked down a gel. I am highly skeptical that it is necessary to use these things at the distances I am training for. But at the tri meeting I went to, the teacher stressed the importance of nutrition, so I am trying out a bunch of different products to see if: 1) there are any that aren't really gross tasting (today was a fail on that count) and 2) they make a difference in how I feel or how far I can go. I was refreshed and encouraged to extend my ride after I ate the gel stuff, but I also downed a ton of crystal light exercise stuff, so I'm not sure who to give the props to.

I computed the distance I rode when I got home, and it was 10.32 miles! I was surprised by the distance, because I did not feel like it was a very good ride while I was doing it, and my heart rate never really increased above 150. But I feel like the tri distance is really within my grasp - I would like to work a bit on pace next. Perhaps hills are the answer. Boo.

I will continue to experiment with the smorgasbord of stuff I bought after the tri seminar throughout the rest of training, but I will also continue to research whether the body really needs more than proper hydration at the distances I'm doing. 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike anmd 3.1 mile run, as a reminder.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swim, run and learn

You may have noticed that I missed a few workouts here. I refer you to the post about needing a plan. That the household can get behind. Sigh.

Today was the child's last day of school, and the day ended for him at 11:15 a.m. I picked him up and headed over to watch what turned out to be DH's varsity team's last game of the season. This was an opportunity for the child to learn about perseverance in the face of crummy officiating. Bitter tears were shed.

At which point, I said we needed to go see Grammy. And so we drove out to the house on the lake. We lazed around until Grammy came home from her knitting group, and then we headed out to the dock. DH came out not too much later, and I got to the workout.

I swam for about 25 minutes. I am estimating workout times today, because I did not have my heart rate monitor or watch with me. I swam as far as I did the last time I was out at the lake. The water had a warm layer just on the top, but underneath, it was pretty cold. I tried to float in the warm inch, but my arms and legs were slicing down into murky cold every stroke. I tried to appreciate it, as I knew I would be heading to a run right after.

Which I did. I threw on my old rugby shorts, some sock and running shoes, and cranked up the podcast. I did Run 2 of Week 8. It was a nice run - I went the same distance as I routinely trained the last time, and I ended up back at the house with about 4 minutes to spare. Which has me hoping my pace is good. I want to try a practice run at a track, so I can measure how far I get in 30 minutes.

Then my mom fed me dinner (yay!) and I took off for the triathlon clinic. I feel like I should know what would be covered at a tri clinic, but I wanted a refresher. I also wanted some motivation to get back on a real schedule. I got all that, and a snazzy green tote bag. Plus some training schedule cards for each leg of the race. I'll try to implement a revised schedule in the near future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Swim coaching

June 3rd workout

I did the first run of week 8 today after tuck-in. 5 minute warm-up walk, 28 minute run, 5 minute cool-down walk. After the thunderstorm we had yesterday, it is delightfully cool here. I got my heart rate up to about 70% of max for a good portion of the run. I was happy with how relatively easy it was to run for the entire time. I have to say that I am starting to get cranky when I miss/have to put off a run. This is a good change from being cranky just getting my shoes on to go for a run.

June 2nd workout

It was pouring rain, plus thunder and lightning after work, so I did not do a run. I did, however, get to the pool for our 8:45 p.m. swim workout. My team had found a swim coach who offered us his time and expertise for the whole 45 minutes the pool was available. I learned some drills, and I found out that if you do the crawl properly, your torso sort of rolls from side to side. Unfortunately, the crawl is not a stroke I can sustain for very long without triggering arch and calf cramps. But I did learn how to make it a much prettier stroke.