Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Swim tests

I did 3100m of swimming today, including several tests. First up was 5 x 200m at 90%. I did the first in 3:15, the second, third and fourth in 3:19, and the fifth in 3:21.

Next up was 500m all out. I finished to find that my total time was 6:43, which would be about 1:20 pace. That ain't right. I think I missed the start button at the very start of the 500m. However, I was pressing "lap" each 100m while flip-turning so that I could see how well I paced the 500m, and the lap button is also the start button. So, I think the 6:43 is for meters 100-500 of the 500m. My splits were pretty even: 1:39, 1:41, 1:42: and 1:39. I think I paced myself a bit to slowly, because I wasn't totally spent at the end.

The third test was 200m all-out. I did that in 3:08, with the first 100m in 1:32 and the second in 1:36.

Finally, I did 100m in 1:25. (I think I can drop that by a second or two next time I do it.)

I was a bit stressed out today from work, and wasn't as motivated as normal for the workout. Bah.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday

My legs felt decent on Sunday, but my heart wouldn't pump enough. I did a 3:00 ride with hour 1 at about 120 bpm, hour 2 at about 130 bpm, and hour 3 at about 125 bpm. Even when pushing a tough gear, my HR would not go up. Hitting 135 bpm required working pretty hard.

I followed the ride up with a 1:00 run and killed it the first 20 minutes or so. After that, I think my pace dipped a bit, but my HR stayed in the mid to high 160s. At 27 minutes, I was spent, and I went the last 33 minutes easy.

Post-run, I ate and relaxed for a bit before heading to the pool for a 30 minute swim. I did a few 25m sprints and 8 x 125m pulling. I was noticably tired, but was able to push through it.

Today, I am rewarded with an off day, which I used to do lots of work. Now that I'm brain dead, I'm having a Guiness and will take a warm bath.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Long ride

Stacey and I headed up to Stoney Creek Metropark, this time by car, for a 5 hour ride. The park has a main loop of about 6 or 7 miles, plus to off-shoots that add another 5 miles. It takes me about 35 minutes to ride the estimated 11-12 miles (I don't have a CPU on my bike, so I don't know the actual distance). While traveling the same route 9 times of the course of 5 hours is not the most exciting, adventurous or interesting way to do a long ride, there are several advantages. I'm never too far from a bathroom or drinking fountain, I can pack a bunch of food in the car instead of carrying it all or stopping at a gas station to pick something else up, and there are no lights and only one stop sign. I can ride at a target HR (and soon power) without being interrupted or, since I'm always pretty close by anyhow, having to turn around for Stacey. I only got off my bike twice during the whole ride. Plus, the terrain isn't too bad. There is one climb that takes about 3 minutes to do, and several others that are more gradual or shorter but still provide a significant amount of climbing when traversed nine times.

I rode pretty steadily with a few harder efforts where my HR stayed around 150-155 bpm for 5 to 20 minutes to catch Stacey, drop someone that was trying to draft of me, and catch some guy a mile or so up the path that, as I discovered upon passing him, was wearing an IMLP jacket. After all, as BSNYC says, a bicycle is an elegant and efficient tool designed for seeking out and defeating people who aren't as good as you. That actually reminds me of another benefit of riding in Stoney Creek - there are lots of riders to pass, keeping motivation high. Average HR for the ride including 10 minute cool-down but excluding 10 minute warm-up: 139 bpm.

I felt pretty strong the whole way, but probably didn't eat enough. I ate the same per hour as last year (typically 1 Clif Bar + 1/2 sports drink, or about 350 calories/hour), but by the third hour I was really hunger and ate probably 500 calories that hour, in addition to drinking about 50 ounces of water. Next time I will try to increase my calories consumption slightly at the beginning so that it stays steady throughout the ride.

Oh, and the park may have okay open water swimming (depending on whether or not life guards allow swimmers outside of the designated swimming area...and whether the water is not too gross to swim in ...weeds scare me) and trails for running or MTBing.

Afterwards, Stacey and I went for an hour walk on the trails in the park. I think it sped up recovery, as I feel good today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Picking back up from Wed

Now where was I? Let's see, when I last left you, my faithful reads, I had completed a two hour run on Wednesday morning. I followed that up with a 30 minute run in the evening doing laps around the park across the street from my apt. with a low HR.

Thursday evening included an interesting workout. First up was a 1:15 bike. Between a 10 min. warm-up and 5 minute cool down, I had to increase my HR by 5 bpm every 10 minutes starting I 135 bpm and finishing at a leg-burning 160 bpm. I met or surpased by a beat or two each HR target, though the last one required working pretty hard. Building by 5 bpm makes the workout easier, however, as 160 bpm for 10 minutes is a bit intimidating (at least on the trainer, where all effort is magnified).

I hopped off the bike, took a quick shower, and headed over to get a massage. Coincidentally, stepping back in time to Wednesday afternoon, I had been walking through Whole Foods to pick up some lunch when I was handed a card for a free 30 minute massage with another 30 minutes for only $30. With me having a massage required as part of what was then tomorrow's workout, this was perfect. So, after getting off the bike, Stacey and I went and got us some massages. My neck and upper back were pretty much one big knot. I guess that's a sign that I need to relax a bit more (undestatement) in the shoulders while swimming. I will work on being a bit more aware of tension that I'm unnecessarily exerting. My shoulders and neck are a bit sore from the massage today (i.e. Friday), but otherwise I feel good. Oh, and my calve was not sensitive at all during the massage, unlike it had been when I first noticed the tightness - at that time, even Stacey's light massages were a bit painful. I'll take the lack of calve pain at the massage as a good sign.

Anyhow, post massage, I got back on the bike for another 45 minutes of pretty easy spinning while watching an episode of Lost (I'm still on season 1, so no spoilers! Good show so far, by the way, though you should probably start at the beginning or else it likely won't make any sense.)

This morning I went for an easy 1 hour run with a HR of around 120 bpm. I think I'm slowly picked up speed at that HR, and don't feel like my stride is altered too much. My calve was still not 100% however, though it didn't bother me. Really, right now I wouldn't even notice any different between calves if I weren't thinking about it.

Next up, after looking up the tabs for the Jane's Addiction song "Stop!" (I only know the intro riff, which is a kinda cool one), is a swim this evening, something like 3600m. Gotta get that 100m time down to 1:20, and then lower from there. Watch out Phelps!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

M-W

Let's see...Monday included an easy run and a swim of 3000m, if I recall correctly, and Tuesday included a secret workout and 3600m of swimming. Tuesday's swim went well, meaning I had no shoulder pain during the 10 x 300m @ 95% effort (not that I've had shoulder pain in the past, but the first five 300m's were with paddles, so I made sure to closely monitor my shoulders for any signs of strain). Working hard with the paddles is tough, as I equate hard work with respiratory stress. With the paddles, though, even when working hard my respiratory system isn't taxed that much; instead, I think strength is my limiter. Even at the end of this workout, I wasn't that spent.

This morning I awoke at 5am, downed a cup of coffee and small bowl of cereal, and headed out into the darkness and rain along with Stacey for a 2 hour run. I did an extended warm-up, which worked well because unlike how I often feel on early morning runs I had no problem getting the legs going. After the warm-up, I cruised around 7:30 to 8:30 pace, though I didn't pay particularly close attention to my Garmin, going instead mostly by feel with only the occassional reference to the watch to make sure my internal gauge was accurate. Other than my hands becoming frozen, the run went great. I felt fresher at the end of the run than I'm used to. My calve didn't bother me, but I did notice it once when going up a steep hill. Real massage tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two long rides

Saturday started with a 3000m swim of long, steady sets. I did 800m of pulling, 600m of free with a bit of backstroke thrown in, 400m of pulling, and then 200m free, all sandwiched by a warm-up and cool-down. Afterwards, I hopped on the bike for 4 hours on the trainer expecting my legs to feel great, as they felt during Friday's run. Instead, my legs were sluggish. I was slowly able to elevate the HR throughout the ride as my legs warmed up, and I averaged 137 bpm for the second hour and 142 bpm for the third hour. I toned it down a bit for the fourth hour to save something for Sunday.

On Sunday, the weather was nice so Stacey and I ventured outside. The plan was to ride up through Rochester to Stoney Creek Metro Park, do a few loops around the 6 to 7 mile route in the park, and then head home. We hoped to get in 4 hours, then do a 1 hour transition run. Stacey had wrote out directions for getting from Rochester to the park, but due to some miscommunication we didn't bring the directions along with us on the ride. No worries, we thought, we remember the route well enough. Turns out...not so much. Our ad hoc route took us on rails-to-trails gravel paths, down dirt roads, through a foot-wide gap in fencing around the park, and even along a mountain bike path for a short distance. We passed through industrial grave yards, by what appeared to be an old mining operation, and through the landfill district (I was amazed to see so many landfills in close proximity to one another, and even more amazed to see houses boardered on two or three sides by different landfills...SE MI sure is a beautiful place). We even had an encounter with an obese gas station attendent. Stacey bought a Snickers bar and a Coke from the station, and the attendent asked how long Stacey was riding for. While Stacey and I were outside eating and taking a break, the attendent came outside for her break. Interrupted by sips of pop from her two-liter mug (the biggest I've ever seen!), hits of her cigarette, and coughing like a coal miner, she mentioned that she wished she had somebody to do four hour bike rides with. I get conflicted feelings whenever I come across people like this. Of course I feel sorry for them, but personal responsibility has to come into play at some point.

Back to the actual ride, I didn't feel much fatigue at the start of the ride, and my HR quickly elevated to an easy 130 bpm. I maintained my HR in the 130 bpm range for the first hour and a half or so. Once we got into the park, I picked up the effort to 140 bpm for stretches. I kept expecting my legs to begin burning while climbing the hills in the park or riding into the strong wind, but where that normally occurs in relation to RPE, I felt nothing. After leaving the park, I had a fair amount of riding at a lower HR as Stacey and I tried to find a safe route home. Once we got back to streets we knew around the 3 hour mark, I took the HR up to 145 to 150 for a while because I felt like riding harder (I credit the Snickers bar and Coke). I finished the ride feeling like I could have gone much longer, whereas by the end of most long rides I'm ready to get off the bike.

The ride ended up taking longer than planned as a result of getting lost (I didn't count down time in the ride time), so I didn't do the transition run. Still, 9+ hours for the weekend ain't too shabby.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feeling rested

On Thursday I went to the gym with the intention of getting in an hour swim (about 3000m), but every lane having two swimmers in it (one even had three - a first for my gym!). I had to wait a while before I could get in, and due to time constraints was only about to swim 45 or 50 minutes. Oh well.

I also got in 1:10 on the bike. It was an odd workout, because I could easily push a big gear requiring a lower than normal cadence and keep my HR around 145-150, which is usually working pretty hard for me. Maybe it was because I was watching the exciting U of M v. Clemson b-ball game...but hopefully the ease of the workout was a sign of increased fitness. I don't think the high HR was fatigue because my output was correspondingly high. But then again, what do I know.

On Friday I got in a 1:30 run. I would have gone longer, but didn't want to hinder the weekend's workouts. I kept my HR pretty low, 134 bpm average. Still I averaged 7:49 per mile, which isn't too shabby for not working. My legs felt very fresh, and I tried to keep my turnover high.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New swim PR!

Yesterday I ended up doing a 1:30 run at a moderate pace (140 bpm average HR). My calve was bothering me a bit at the beginning, just when I quit being so vigilant about massaging it. So I'm back to working on the calve with the TP massage kit. I didn't end up getting in the swim I was hoping to, but oh well.

Today I did 25 minutes of secret exercise, following by a 3200m or so swim. Stacey had a session with Melissa tonight, so I dropped in. It's been a while since my last session with Melissa, so I got more coaching than normal. I've got to get my shoulders a little lower in the water and enter further toward 11 and 1 o'clock (I'm entering way too narrow right now). Those things shouldn't be too hard to correct. We started out with a 1,000m warm up of alternating 200m's with and without paddles. Next up was 4 x 300m broken. Each 300m including 50m getting progressively faster and transitioning into 100m hard, then 5-10 sec. rest before 100m hard transitioning into 50m recovery. My times for the first and second 100m were 1:30 and 1:33. I followed that up with 1:27 (a new PR!) and 1:29. I don't recall my times for the third set, but I think they were 1:28 and 1:30 or something like that. Finally, for the fourth set I did 1:30 and 1:25 (another new PR!), though I had a pretty long break between those two efforts.

We followed that up with drills for a while to work on the wider entry. We also worked on some sort of sculling catch that I did not come close to getting right.

Anyhow, it's nice to see the swim times come down. A 1:25 100m is a huge step forward for me, and I think I could probably hit 1:23 or 1:24 had a pushed a bit hard on the last 25.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I wimped out.

On Sunday Stacey and I traveled to Clarkston for what was supposed to be a four hour ride. I selected Clarkston for the ride because it's pretty close, yet appeared to be far enough away from suburbia that we'd use mostly country roads. I found a route from mapmyride.com that was recommended by the local cycling group. The day got off to a promising start as the weather was fairly nice and Clarkston appeared to be a nice town on our drive in. However, after leaving downtown, we traveled along a two lane road with no shoulder and a 50 mph speed limit. This wouldn't have been too bad, except there was a steady flow of traffic. After making our first turn, traffic got a bit better for a few miles, then picked right back up. As we approached our third turn, about an hour into the ride, we noticed that it too was going to be onto a road with a high speed limit, no shoulder, and too much traffic. Okay, I though, I'll just find a side street and we will abandon the planned route. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no network of paved country roads in the Clarkston area. Instead, every side street was a dirt road. Stacey and I road back through town to try to head in another direction, but the roads were exactly the same. After 3:30, Stacey was getting exhausted, and I was frusterated and not enjoying the ride. So, we stopped the ride 30 minutes short. My average HR wasn't that high (though I haven't looked at it) because I had to turn around for Stacey often. Still, I was able to spend a lot of time in the range of 135-140 bpm, and I tried to keep my cadence lower than normal. By the end of the ride, 135 bpm felt fairly tough, but I could have kept going. I remember feeling exhausted on rides over 3 hours at this time last year, so things are comparing favorably.

After the ride we headed to the pool for a quick 3500m. I felt surprising strong despite the ride and Saturday's workouts.

On Monday the weather was once again nice so I headed out for a 1:15 ride and 30 minute run. I pushed it a bit during the ride, spending a lot of time between 145 and 150 bpm (even accidentally hitting 160 bpm when trying to pass a mine-field-esque pot-holed section of road before a car approaching from behind would force me to the shoulder where I'd encounter the pot holes). The run felt great. I tried a new pair of shoes and think they're the best I've tried.

Once again, it's sunny and warm today (almost 70!) so I'm going to head out for a low-effort run, maybe 1:00 to 1:30. If I can get in an hour and a half of work, I'll head to the pool for a swim, too.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Easy day...for a Saturday, anyhow

First up was a swim with a main set of 16 x 50 @ 90% on 10 sec. rest, 12 x 50 @ 95% on 15 sec. rest, 12 x 50 @ 100% on 20 sec. rest, and 8 x 50% @ 100% on 20 sec. rest, with 200m easy between each group of 50s. I did the first 16 in about 47 sec., the next 12 in 45-46 sec., and both of the last 8 and 4 in 43-44 sec. My times were very consistent throughout the entire set. I did not get passed by any pre-adolescent girls this time.

Next up was a test run (MAF?) at the track. I should have eaten a bit more post swim because I was starving during the run. I ate an apple and about two gels from a gel flask during my three mile warm-up. The conditions were quite nice - 55-60 degrees and sunny, though a fair amount of wind. It was my first run in shorts since October or so. PE was low during the test, maybe 75-80%, moving to maybe 85% by the end of the test. Here's the test data:

Mile Pace Avg. HR
1 6:29 151
2 6:38 152
3 6:43 152
4 6:43 150
5 6:49 153 (grabbed my gel flask while running and ate another two gels)
6 6:47 151
7 6:53 151
8 6:54 152

Total test duration: 54:10. Pretty easy, really. I was wanted to speed up and push it, but kept holding back to keep the HR low. The wind was a bit problematic - I'd hit 154 going into the wind then back it down to the high 140's when the wind was at my back.

I felt fine afterwords and ate and ate and ate once I got home. Stacey did the test, too, and after eating we both fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up I was more sore than prior to the nap.

We then went out for an easy spin about town (the plan said indoors, but it was the nicest day of the year so far, and the temptation for outdoor riding too great). I kept the HR low, rarely exceeding 115bpm.

Tomorrow's forecast is very promising. I think we're going to drive a half hour to get to some decent riding. As much as I hate having to drive to go for a ride, it beats riding around Birmingham.

Easy outdoors ride

Yesterday Stacey and I were able to get outside for a one hour ride. I kept me RPE low, though I noticed my HR get up around 140 bpm every once in a while. It sure is easier to get the HR up while outside. I also threw in 4 short all-out sprints.

Finally, the calve continues to improve. In fact, it did not bother me once yesterday. Good news.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Totally unrelated to training

I used to watch the Daily Show most days of the week, but have only watched it once or twice in the past year. But, this video is a classic example of what makes the show so great: go to www.thedailyshow.com and watch the interview called "Jim Cramer Pt. 2" (sorry, no direct link, though the video should be on the front page...though do not confuse it with the video entitled "Jim Cramer Interview Outtake Pt. 2"). Jim Cramer comes off as trying his best to be genuine, though he's still being entirely disengenous. He'll make a seemingly genuine statement, then backtrack immediately after being contradicted by a video clip shown by the Daily Show. Why do I not see stuff like this on "real" news shows? Why do people watch the Jim Cramer show? Oh, wait, I know - they watch it just because it's on, which is the same reason people watch 99% of the other stuff on TV.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back to it.

I ended up taking yesterday completely off. A trip to the Secretary of State ate up an hour of the evening. I might have to change car insurance companies if only to switch to one that has a PIN allowing for online registration renewal, which Geico currectly does not offer (I initially chose Geico on the sole basis of their commercials), so I can avoid going to the SoS every year. Stacey occupied our time there with riddles. Here's one:

In a certain town lived a miller, his daughter, and the evil mayor. The miller was in debt to the mayor, and the mayor had his eye on the miller’s daughter. The mayor made a proposition: he would place a black stone and a white stone in a bag, and the miller’s daughter would pick one out in front of the whole village. If she drew the white stone, the mayor would forgive the miller’s debt. If she drew the black stone, the mayor would marry the miller’s daughter and take the mill. The miller had no choice but to agree. The miller’s daughter has no reason to trust the mayor, and believes that he will place two black stones in the bag. How can she get out of marrying the mayor and save the mill?

Anyhow, today's workouts included an AM run of one hour and a PM swim. The run was cake, as was expected since I had a HR cap of 135 save for four all out sprints. The calve/achilles did not bother me, but I can still feel that it is a bit tight.

The PM swim went well. I actually felt very rested, but I also felt less fluid in the water because it has been 5 days (that's a guess) since my last swim. Sandwiched between a warm-up and cool down, I did 3 x 350m all-out on 30 sec. rest, 3 x 250m all-out on 20 sec. rest, 3 x 150m all-out on 15 sec. rest, and 3 x 50 all-out on 10 sec. rest. Here are the requested times:

250m: 4:03, 4:10, and 4:10
150m: 2:23, 2:26, and 2:26

My improvement is slowing, but I hope to keep the times dropping with continuing hard work.

Also, I got passed by a 12 year old girl while doing the 150m all-out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Off" day update

So it's my second consecutive "rest" day, and I'll just do 15 minutes of swimming today. First, though, I've got to stop by the local Trek store to pick up some Bontrager Race X Lite Pro tires that I selected based on their low rolling resistance. The plan is to try them out during training to make sure they've got adequate puncture resistance, and if not it's back to the Michelin Pro 3 Races, or maybe something else. With my wide Hed C2 wheels, I can get optimal aerodynamics with a range of tire widths. Tires appear to be a much, much cheaper way of buying speed than faster wheels or a new frame (not that I wouldn't mind those, but that ain't happening soon). Oh, and still no PowerTap computer. The bike shop is looking into again, or so I have been assured.

The calf is doing better, but not 100% yet. I'll do another home massage with the PT kit tonight, as I wasn't able to get a massage appointment today or tomorrow. I did, however, locate a massage place that appears capable of meeting an athletes needs - the two proprietors, one male and one female, have a combined marathon PR of under 5:00. That's fast. They're also the PT/massage team for Hanson's running team, which is headquartered about 20 minutes from my place. Best of all, the price is right: $30 less per hour ($40 less with a $10 off coupon!) than my gym, Lifetime Fitness.

Oh, and I might be going to Boston (or maybe San Fransisco) tomorrow for work. I will get in a run in the morning, but my Thursday workout might be tough to squeeze in if I do go.

Finally, two good links for the day. First up is a classic story from the Onion, Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs. The last sentence is just perfect. Next up is Esquire's 75 Albums Every Man Should Own. By nature, lists of this type are usually predictable. Esquire's has more variety than most lists, to its credit. I mean Cody Chesttnut? I thought I was the only one that liked "I Look Good in Leather." Still, I think the compiler was a bit too contrarian. The selected Radiohead album is The Bends instead of the more groundbreaking OK Computer, Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was picked over the superior Slanted and Enchanted, Hendrix's live mess Band of Gypsies was amazingly included in place of any of Hendrix's three real albums (I'm not sure which I'd pick), The Clash's Combat Rock got the nod over critics' typical choice by The Clash, London Calling. Oh, and I almost missed Wilco's Being There being selected over their opus Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The list has some other shortcomings. Not every man needs to own Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On - I can attest to that as someone that does own the album. And, while I'm glad a Drive-By Truckers album got picked (they're currently one of my favorite bands, and they've got the best song title of all time: "Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus"), it definitely, definitely should have been Decoration Day, not the average Brighter Than Creation's Dark. At least Jorma Kaukonen didn't make the list...

Post Script: And just because, here's my current favorite song (soon to change, I'm sure): Skinny Love by Bon Iver with the typical rock band line up of one acoutic guitarist and three drummers.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A tough weekend


Here I am sporting some new (to me) shades I purchased used. I bought 'em for the three included lenses - dark, yellow as pictured, and clear - that offer eye protection under any conditions. They'll be particularly helpful for winter running, as the clear lens will keep my eyes warm while still allowing me to see during the seemingly near constant darkness of Dec. to Feb. Plus, I'm now fully equipped to enter a high school shop class.

Now for the good stuff. Saturday started with a 1:45 bike ride. Stacey and I watched the University of Michigan defeat Minnesota in basketball and hopefully secure a bid the the NCAA tournament for the first time since the U quit paying its players. Hopefully the team starts off the Big Ten tournament with a win to almost certainly get a spot. Anyhow, I took the ride fairly mellow, but not easy, averaging a 133 HR.

Up next is a secret workout that Chuckie said was "brutally hard." Despite the ominous description, that over two hour effort wasn't that bad. It's amazing how much of a role psychology plays in PE. If one expects a workout to be easy, and the workout is actually moderately hard, one will believe the workout to be hard or very hard. If, however, one is begins a workout with the expectation that it will be very difficult, the workout often ends up only seeming moderately hard. I think that was the case here.

Anyhow, the secret workout was followed up with another hour on the bike, but really easy this time. I kept my HR under 115 bpm as instructred.

Sunday began with a 1:30 run with a 130 bpm HR cap. It was decently warm out, though raining a bit, and the warmer weather is comforting. My calf loosened up over the first 15 minutes of the run and I didn't notice it much the rest of the way, except when I actively tried to assess how it was feeling.

The second workout had me worried. 3:30 on the bike with 2:00 at 145 bpm. I knew my legs would be tired at the start of the ride, so the prospect of a long, tough ride was not promising. I took an hour for a warm-up, slowing bringing my HR up. After that, keeping my HR at 145 was tough, but not killer. I checked my average HR for the first hour post-warm-up and was pleasantly surprised to see I'd nailed 145 bpm on the dot. That was a confidence booster and helped keep my effort high during the next tough hour. I ended up hitting the target HR for the second hour as well. My only "cheating" during the workout was eating whenever my HR dropped, as chewing food instantly raises my HR 3-4 beats. Of course, my cheating didn't work too well, as I'd wash my food down with some liquid, and drinking lowers my HR by 7-8 bpm for a few moments (Stacey says there's some medical term for that, but I have no idea what the term is or what it refers to). I finished up with a half hour easy and was satisfied with myself for making it through another tough week...well, after I went to the pool that evening and did a 30 minute "flop".

Now it's Monday, the first of three easy recovery days. I was able to get outside with Stacey for an easy 30 minute ride (okay, almost 40 minutes, but my HR was nice and low - about 100 bpm - the whole time), as the temp was an almost 47 degrees. But, whew, my legs are still feeling it today.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Double swim day

4000m in the morning including 3000m straight as 6 x (25 hard/25 easy, 50 hard/50 easy, 75 hard/75 easy, and 100 hard/100 easy). My time for the 3000m was 53:30, or 1:47/100m. I'm pretty happy with that considering I went easy for half the set.

In the evening I did another 1800m, including ten x 125m working hard and doing the last 25 as either back or breast stroke. I felt good during the evening swim - not too much soreness from the morning's swim. I also notice that when I'm feeling strong, I do a much better job of keeping my right elbow high. I think because I breath more often to my left side, I have a tendency to drop my right elbow. Whenever I feel a better than average catch, I try to ingrain that feeling in my mind so hopefully it will become a habit.

The only other thing is my left calve is very tight right from Thursday's long run. I can feel a ligament or tendon (Achilles?) get caught on something when my calf flexes, and then be released when further stretched. I tried a few calve stretches, but most stretch too high up my leg. After a google search, I found this stretch:

http://www.coopersguns.com/videos/stretches/stretches-for-lower-limbs/calf-stretch-standing/

So, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor to be sure I'm fit enough to lean slightly forward, and I'll wait the three weeks until my appointment before trying the stretch. "Doctor," I'll ask, "am I medically capable of leaning slightly forward?"

Anyhow, I will try the PT massage roller thing, too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still going strong

Tuesday including 4,000m of swimming with a hole lot of pulling. I felt stronger than normal during the pulling and was able to keep my effort level high the whole swim without muscle tiredness slowing me down. Hopefully that means I'm getting stronger. I followed the swim up with 1:30 of fairly easy biking.

Wednesday including a tough 1:30 ride including 5 x 12 min consisting of 6 min. at 145 bpm and 60 rpm in the aero position, 4 min. at 150 bpm and 60 rpm standing, and 2 min. at 145 bpm and 100 or so rpm seated. I missed the target HR big time on the first set (in the future, I'll have to make sure I end the warm-up with a HR close to the goal HR for the next set). After the first set, I hit the target heart rate for each of the 6 min. efforts and most of the 2 min. efforts. The 4 minutes of standing, however, are difficult for me. I can get my HR above 150 bpm, but it requires raising my cadence to maybe 65-70 rpm while standing in my 53 x 12. My form while standing makes cadences above about 60 rpm tough. I ended up average 148 bpm for each of the last four standing sets. After the first set, though, the ride wasn't too bad once I got past the first 12 min. set.

I followed the ride up with a 30 min flop focusing on stretching out without doing much freestyle. When I got home after the swim, I realized how sore my quads were from the ride. Good, I though, just means I will be stronger when I recover.

Thursday, today, I did a fun 2:00 run. I say fun because, for the first time since perhaps October, it was warm out. Well, warm relative to the temperature for the past two months, anyhow. I think running without being cold gave me a bit of energy, and I had to hold myself back from pushing the pace lest I exceed my 160 bpm cap. (Interestly, I don't know if this is a result of being much less fatigued than my Monday run, but me PE at 160 bpm today was much, much lower than on Monday.) Anyhow, I went by feel, but ran slightly below moderately hard. I didn't check my stats during the run, other than to ensure I wasn't exceeding my HR cap, but I average 7:17 at 150 bpm. More importantly, I now have proof that I am the fastest person alive:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ouch.

(My newly re-built Waterford. I can't get my camera to focus - time to read the instructions, I guess.)

Let's start with Saturday: four hours of biking + 1 hour running + 1 hour swimming.

After 1:30 of warming up with a HR around 125-130 bpm, it was time for a terrifying main set of 2:30 at 150 bpm with a cadence of 75-80 in the aerobars. After an hour and a half, nearly all of which was spent in the aerobars, my legs were getting pretty exhausted. I did a split on the HR monitor to check my average HR for the first 1:30, and it was 147 bpm. Close, but no cigar.

For the next hour I had to rotate among positions, switching between standing, seated, and in the bars every couple of minutes. I couldn't keep my HR high because I couldn't push the necessary gear. I suffered for the last hour, toughing it out for an average HR of 143 during that time.

Immediately after getting of the bike and changing, it was out the door for 1:00 of running. Holding 7:00/mile for the first half wasn't too tough, though my HR was around 160 bpm (probably 7-8 bpm higher than when fresh for that pace).

After the run, I was beat. Stacey, having also done the bike and run, and I both fell asleep after eating a recovery meal. Even after napping, our bodies were still visibly working hard to recover - I could see Stacey breathing deeply just sitting on the couch. The feeling was similar to how one feels after a long race.

For hour number six (6! - tying my longest training day every), Stacey and I headed up to the pool. I didn't get in the whole yardage (meterage?), but did get in a full hour. To keep Stacey happy, I said we'd stop when we hit one hour, regardless of yardage. We probably got in 2300m of mostly drills.

I had Stacey capture some video of my swim technique. Here I am swimming 5:45 into the workout:

video

(The camera lens fogged up during the "shooting" and most of the captured videos are too blurry to see. One of these days I will capture some videos trying slight tweaks to my stroke to see how things look compared to how they feel.)

My feet are dragging pretty lowly. I *think* that is a result of them being too tired to kick. However, I have noticed that I feel like I'm swimming uphill for the first few laps immediately after I remove a pull buoy. I'll keep working on making sure I feel my heels break the surface to ensure they're high enough.

Sunday:

4 hours riding + an hour swimming. My legs were feeling okay during the ride, which is better than I expected. I kept the effort moderate, and my HR varied between 120-130. I ended up averaging 125 bpm for the whole ride, and I think I was pushing the same gear as I could push last year at 140 bpm (though we'll see when I get out on the road).

I completed every meter of Sunday's swim. A tiring weekend, all in all. 11 hours.

Monday:

1 hour running in the morning (main sets: 10 min at each of 150, 155 and 160 bpm) + 1 hour running in the evening (cap: 125 bpm). In the morning, it took a while to get the soreness out of my legs. During the 150 bpm set, my HR was staying at 146 and would move no higher. However, my HR monitor needs a new battery and has been slightly on the fritz, so I'm not sure that that reading was acccurate. Once it moved from 146 bpm, the monitor was all over the place. It's accuracy improved when I began to sweat a bit more, so I think for sets 2 and 3 the reading was accurate. I was able to hang around 155 and 160 bpm for the latter sets. By the end of the run, I felt better than at the start.

In the evening, I ran with Stacey and chatted during the run. I kept my HR under the cap (well, for the most part - it may have hit the high 120's on an occasion or two when Stacey was playing Haile Gebrselassie).

I'm ready for Tuesday's swim and (easy looking) bike.