Tuesday, March 31, 2009

back to basics

Did 30 mins of strength this morning. This is the first time I have done any strength in about 2 weeks. It felt easy. My 20 pushups were the easiest 20 pushups I have done all year...everything else felt about the same or easier. So thats nice.

Then tonight I did my final spin class of the year. From here on out its riding OUTDOORS! YEAH!

Unfortunately tonight's class turned out to be one of my worst, including a calf cramp during a 4 min ouch fest. Here is my graph:

My legs were really weak and I was having a hard time keeping my wattage 20 watts over threshold. Oh well, enough bitching, time to get outside!

Monday, March 30, 2009

woooooah where have I been?

Its been a week! Yikes!

I basically had a recovery week since the duathlon on March 21st, and recover I did! I took it REALLY easy.

But I am back. Today marks the return to a somewhat hard week, mostly short but intense stuff.

This morning I tried out a new (to me) pool and found it to be half as expensive and 3X cleaner! So I think I am gonna make the switch. Plus I can swim here on lunch! Its also not a chlorine pool, so whatever they use to clean it rocks.

Then tonight I got hooked up to the VO2Max machine again on the dreadmill to reassess my running heart rate zones. This is mostly to see how much I have improved in almost 12 weeks. I have improved a lot from the preliminary report. The formal report will be out tomorrow.

Its getting rapidly nicer outside. Unfortunately it is still freaking dark in the mornings, but its getting lighter. Lunch runs will still be available as long as the spring rains stay put.

Monday, March 23, 2009

1500 meters of good technique

I sure didn't go fast, but I made sure every 50 yard lap was done with good technique. I am sore, but that is good because I held me technique up from start to finish.

I feel accomplished!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

loooooong slooooooow ride

Went for a looooooong slooooooooow ride with my racing buddy today. It was her first long ride of the season so we went very conservatively. My legs were shot from yesterday's awesome performace so averaging 12 mph over 30 miles was not such a bad thing. In fact, my legs hurt maybe once or twice towards the end, and by hurt, i mean little pinches in the quads.

Today's ride was in other words a true "spin your legs out!" ride. I was nice and relaxed the entire time with no worries about hurting the legs.

It was good therapy...I could have done 50 miles @ this pace without breaking a sweat, though it woulda taken 4 hours :)

Here is the elevation profile and route:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Prospect Park Duathlon, take 2, a year later

This morning I did the Prospect Park Spring Duathlon in Brooklyn. This was my first ever multi-sport race that I did exactly one year ago today, so it was cool to repeat it and see how I have progressed in a year's time. I basically slaughtered last year's time!

Unfortunately due to the cold this morning they shortened the bike from 4 laps to 3, so my time isn't a direct comparison to last year's. Fortunately because I have some data from my GPS watch and my PowerTap computer, I can figure out my speed on the bike and figure out what I *might* have done had there been an extra lap.

So today's (unofficial) time is:

The (unofficial) breakdowns are:
Run #1: 24:04 / 7:46 min/miles
Transition #1: 1:45 (what was I doing!?!?!?!?)
Bike: 30:53 / 19.94 mph
Transition #2: 0:55 (a bit better, what huh?)
Run #2: 25:24 / 8:12 min/miles

So those are some pretty sweet numbers for me. For me, I KILLED that course today! For the first run, I was about ~20 seconds off of my stand alone 5K time, the bike was really fast considering the not-so-large amount of riding that I have done so far this season, and the 2nd run was faster than the first run that I did last year.

Had there been a 4th lap on the bike, I would have put up a time of ~41:11, so that would have made my overall time @ 1:33:12. This of course does not factor in the extra amount of fatigue from that extra loop which would have slowed me a bit on the bike and probably the run. How much? I have no idea and I am not gonna worry about it, BECAUSE!!!!

Last year's time was: 1:47:02
This year's (adjusted time) is: 1:33:12

Time difference: 13:50

WHHHHAAAATTT!!! I shave off almost 14 minutes in one year!!!!!


Friday, March 20, 2009

a needed day off

because yesterday was a pathetic showing of defeat on the trainer and in the pool, my body was telling me something, "TAKE IT EASY STUPID!"

so i am taking today completely off.

I don't feel tired, which is good. I just know my body would yell at me if I tried to do a run or do anything today.

This way I will feel fresh-er for tomorrow's race.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

uh oh....what goes up, must come down

and it sure came down! my 5 day high of awesome workouts finally came to an end today.

I hopped onto the trainer for an hour spin this morning and the #'s weren't great:

I averaged a whopping 125 watts for 1 hour. Wow....thats freaking SLOW.

Then tonigh I hopped into the pool for a total of 22 mins for a whopping 800 yards. Thats even SLOWER!!!

So I rewarded myself with a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce when I got back home :)

EASY EASY EASY!!! 4 mile run tomorrow then the race on Saturday.

Oh and those blisters have mysteriously diseappeared. I think they went into hiding but are still there. I am still gonna tape up tomorrow for the run.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a run too good to be true

I went out today in 54 degree sunny weather for a run at lunch. Oh man it felt awesome! I was actually overheating @ one point! It was nice to be out in shorts and a short sleeved jersey finally.

I knocked out a strong 6.67 mile run in 57:45 for an 8:39 min/mile average, and I took it sorta easy! So I will take that!!! Especially after a race on Saturday, chased an ex pro for 29 miles on Sunday, easy swim on Monday, hard by strong spin class last night, and now this. Man, I just need to carry this form until Saturday.

Unfortunately the run turned out to be to good to be true because I ended up with a blister on my the ball of my left food :(


My left ankle has been feeling weak and I have been pronating my foot inwards every now and then. The force of my foot on the ground when I do this is directly upon where I got my blister. Duuuuhhhh!......I prolly shouldn't do that!

I am nervous for Saturday's duathlon in Prospect Park but I am mentally getting ready for it. I haven't done a single brick workout since last September so Saturday will be a good indicator on whether or not brick workouts are crap or are a necessary thing. It should be a good test.

Last year I did 1:47 and change. This year my running has improved IMMENSLY so I am looking foward to seeing gains there. My biking form is somewhere out in a black hole of the unkown, but I will be in an aero position this year with power meter to guide my effort (as well as RPE of course :) ).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

feeling strong

I had my 2nd to last spin class tonight. I felt STONG. In fact, I have been feeling stronger everyday (except for yesterday's swim) since last Friday, even with a race and a "lets chace down this ex pro rider for 29 miles" ride.

So I was hitting some good #'s tonight:

Tomorrow I run for 60 mins. Long lunch!

found the "catch"

So last night was turning out to be another frustrating swim where I was out of breath as usual and my form sucked. Well all of a sudden my right arm started to do a legitimate catch! I actually felt the feeling of catching the water or like I had a caught an invisible handle in the pool and I was pulling myself along it. Wow, it felt like a correct pull. FINALLY!

And the even cooler thing is that doing a 100 yard set with a crappy pull vs a correct pull was that I wasn't so out of breath after doing the correct pull set.

I will call last night a bit of a breakthrough. My left arm on the other hand needs a lot of work, but at least my right arm is doing something somewhat correct.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

rode with Bob Roll today

or rather I chased Bob Roll for ~29 miles.

I consider myself a cyclist, which on a certain level means that I think that I am a pretty strong cyclist. I was able to hold an almost 20 mph average during my rather hilly Olympic triathlon course last September. On the other hand, Bob Roll is an ex professional bike racer who raced in the Tour de France and Giro d`Italia. His level of riding is something that I have only seen on TV. In person, I can't accurately describe what kind of level of a rider he is. He freaking blew us away from the start of the ride and never let down. At the end of the ride he remarked, "Yeah, I rode kinda slow today." WHAAAT! There is NO comparison between his level of riding and mine. I am considered a "recreational" rider who has a triathlon hobby.

I got to be part of today's ride because one of my coworker's used to work for Versus and freelances occasionally for the show "Cyclism Sundays". He rides and the producer of the show rides as well, and of course Bob Roll rides. So today worked out that we could all ride together.

Right from the start when they showed up we were off. Bob didn't stop, say hey and introduce himself or anything like that. He just WENT! So we took off after him, thinking he might slow down or stop @ a red light up the road, since we were in the middle of a city. Well he likes to run red lights and weave in and out of traffic like a person with a deathwish!

I was booking it and finally sorta caught up with him and he knew I was sorta behind him because he was pointing out potholes. Well the next red light came up and he ran it but it looked too dangerous for me to shoot through. After the red light was a slight hill that he stood up on and booked it. Even had I made it through the light with him, he woulda dropped me like a ton of bricks. So not knowing where I was, I slowed up and waited for my other two companions. We never saw Bob again for another 45 mins.

Finally at the top of this short but steep hill he is stopped and waiting for us. We see this and start going up it hard to catch him, but he immediately goes and again just flies away. I had had enough of this and went hard to catch him. Again, I get within maybe 15-20 feet of him at this intersection until he goes hard again but this time I freaking hit the gas and was sprinting all out to catch him. I looked down at my wattage meter and if I can't catch him at 560 watts, there is no way that its EVER going to happen. Well with this effort, I know I am gonna get his wheel until this SUV pulls out right in front of him! Bob goes to the side of it and then hits the gas and starts drafting off it! Bye bye Bob! He is gone and I am spent.

I went into a more threshold pace to at least keep him in my sights. He must have let off because I FINALLY catch him. By this point we all regroup for the first time during the ride and start coming into some town. He doesn't say anything and is pretty focused on this ride.

Coming out of this town he starts going again and this time I am determined to stay on his wheel. I am able to match some of this accelerations of these short but steep hills (he probably is just riding normal while I am riding as hard as I can) until we come to this longer steep hill. He takes off and I try to match but my legs just give out and I end up weaving slightly up the road just to regain my composure. Again Bob is gone.

I regroup with the other two and we ride together until Bob comes from behind us, passes us while saying "You guys are so F&*$ing slow!" and then he is gone again for a bit. He slows up a bit and I go after him to try to catch him one last time. I was able to and I drafted off of him for maybe a minute until we come to a red light. Fortunately he doesn't run it but by the time traffic clears and we are able to go through it he freaking accelerates and there was NO WAY I was gonna match that. He was gone for good this time until the ride ends.

To ride with an ex pro cyclist was just freaking awesome and it was VERY humbling to ride with someone of such a high caliber of strength. It really puts into perspective the different levels of riding ability and just shows how much work it takes to get to that level.

Even though I suffered for the entire ride, it was a great workout and it got me doing some speed work that you just can't simulate on your own.

its been a few days

So going back to Thursday, I got out on my TT bike for a 10 mile spin. That ride was basically a test to see how I did in the aero position and to see if I could ride that bike next weekend's duathlon. Everything went well I had a 2-3 mile stretch of ride where I was able to pick it up a bit in the aero position. So this will be the bike of choice. I just wish I could climb better on that bike.

Friday I ran @ lunch for an easy easy 4 miles. I finished up the giant hill at work VERY slowly, to preserve my legs for Saturday's 5 mile race....

....which went VERY well. I did 39:28 or a 7:56 min/mile pace. My goal was to do an 8:15 pace to simulate next weekend's duathlon running portions. I thought I was doing that pace but I ended up going a bit faster, but at the intensity that I felt comfortable at. So I am seeing that as a good thing? I think I could hold it back half a notch next weekend, especially on the first run to save my legs for the bike. Then the second run will be an all out survival fest.

Bike ride today!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

dreadmill and swim class #5

Did 30 mins @ a 10 min/mile pace on the dreadmill this morning. I felt good the entire way, even though I was going super easy. I just wanted to see how my legs were coping. I think they are somewhat fresh-ish.

Then tonight I had swim class #5 already. It was another frustrating night, but at least I am still recognizing my faults in my swim stroke and I have an idea on how to correct them. Basically tonight's big revelation was the catch. I do not have a good catch, so my body starts to rotate before I start my pull, losing about 25% of my drive. I need to be patient, make sure I plant that catch, start the pull which will force the roll. This will eliminate the need to roll then pull, which is weak and has little drive to it. Guess I get to do some more drills come friday.

We did 1600 yards tonight. Thats a lot when doing pure drills over 45 mins. We did this drill called "Postion 11." Its a modified catchup drill where your arms are extended straight out and you pull with one arm and let it recover to the top, wait a few beats, then pull with the other arm. The goal is to get a good catch by folding your forearm down, then keep your elbow has high as possible through the pull. This will put some strain on your shoulder, but it helps simulate what a high elbow should feel like from the catch through the pull.

I am up to 3600 yards for the week so far. I think I will break my 4000 yards/week goal this week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

spin class

No long hard intervals tonight, just short REALLY hard intervals. Lookie here:

Yeah....that graph shoes nothing but OUCH.

Monday, March 9, 2009

2000 yarder

So I have come to the conclusion, compared to last year, that swimming is my weakness, by a LOT.

I am struggling with it, a LOT.

But I put in 2000 yards tonight, and I got so frustrated with my terrible pull that at one point I hopped out of the pool, grabbed a pull bouy and jumped back in and did a bunch of 100 pull, 100 swim drill sets. It helped, a LOT. My right pull feels so much better, and my left pull doesn't feel like I am pulling nothing.

I remember last season struggling with the running, unable to increase my speed an distance. Well I finally went to war with the running and now I consider myself a "runner".

Hopefully one day I can consider myself a "swimmer". Maybe one day.

an easy weekend

I was out of town for the weekend, so time was not on my side. Saturday I put in a 43 min long trainer session, and I am totally sick of riding on that thing. I just want to get outdoors for a 40 miler for once!

Then yesterday I went out for a 6 miler. Same thing happened as on Friday, the first 3 miles I felt like I had never ran before in my life. For the final 3 miles, my legs felt MUCH better.

I am starting to freak out as I have my first duathlon of the season coming up in 2 weekends. YIKES!

Friday, March 6, 2009

outdoor run and swim

Got outdoors again today which makes it 3 days in a row! all of that snow that we got early this week has almost all melted, thanks to wonderful 48 degree weather we had. It felt like 60 out!

I ran 4.19 miles and I was hurting for about 3.19 of it. Funny how it wasn't until I hit the final huge hill that I started to loosen up, and then I felt AWESOME after it right when I stopped. I went 16 seconds/min/mile faster this time around, so my heart rate was a bit higher:

Then tonigth I hopped into the pool for 1600 yards, brining my week's yardage to 4000 yards. My goal for this month is to put in 16000 yards. That would be my most ever in a month.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

strength and outdoor bike

This morning I hit the gym for a 45 min strength routine. I am definately seeing improvement in my strength. The real indicator was during my 2 fly sets, where you lay on your back on the bench, and swing your arms from the top to the side with 15lb weights in each hand. The first time I did this with my coach, I could only swim about 1-2 feet to each side before I had to come back up to the top. This morning I was able to do 2 X 15 rep sets and go from the top all the way to the bottom and back. Thats improvement!

Then I went out during my lunch break for a 45 min 11 mile ride. Just took it easy. My legs were shit but I got them semi-loose by the end.

When I left tonight @ 6, it was a LOT brighter out than a week ago. Yay!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a GOOD day!

wow, did I say good? yes, I finally said a GOOD day. I slept in til 7:30 because I was able to run during my lunch break today. Ah yes, I have found a solution to early morning run's....run @ lunch instead! this allows me to sleep in. Getting up @ 6 has always put a dent into my day. Fortunately my work has a brand spanking new gym with showers. (so I don't stink out my co-workers :) )

My run was 4.09 miles which I did in 36:53, or a bit over a 9 min/mile. I was going EASY EASY EASY with a HUGE hill @ the end, so I was excited to see a solid pace despite my easy easy effort level. I barely climbed out of zone 2. Here look @ this graph:

Then tonight I had my 4th swim class. It went MUCH better. We didn't do any speed work and instead did skulling drills to feel for a catch and to engage those large lat muscles. I, on the other hand, worked on other things besides that, cuz my hand entry sucks and if that is off, trying to get a good catch is thrown out the window.

So basically my swim instructor had me do crazy hand entry where I did fist drils where I drilled my hand almost straight down towards the bottom of the pool. It helped a lot as I did not drop my elbow (as bad). Then once my hand enters, I need to keep my elbow up (by not rolling my shoulder and dropping the elbow) and reach out until I feel my lat (the armpit area) stretch. That means I have engaged that muscle and at that point, I can start my pull.

It will be a swim drill fest tomorrow night @ the pool.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I have hit fatigue hard and tonight I confirmed it with #'s. For the past 2-3 weeks or so I have been seeing a trend in my blog posts here, that have all been titled around either my legs are shot, im freaking tired, or I just couldn't go any harder. I don't mean to whine all the time, but that trend was starting to mean something and I started to notice it last week. My legs and arms were not firing on all cylinders and this past weekend's race I was surely not firing on all cylinders even after an "easy" week. This morning in the pool my technique was crap and I was having a hard time doing 100 yard sets EZ. Finally during tonight's spin class the #'s on my wattage meter were not lying. I was going at a time trial pace, 85% of max effort and I was struggling to keep my cadence up and the wattage over 200 watts, when I can hold a sustained 240 watts for that same time period.

In other words, I am fatigued and tonight proved it. I am not fatigued in that my legs feel crispy or burned out, its more like this deep down inside lethargic feeling where I have am a 6 cylinder engine, but only 3 of them are firing and they are firing well. The other 3 just dont want to come out and play.

Here is tonight's workout:

You can see around minutes 45-50 where I just went flat.

Monday, March 2, 2009

the snow has returned, BIG TIME!

there is a fresh layer of 6-8 inches of snow on the ground this morning. woo hoo! no work!

but the pool is closed....doh!

so off to the gym I go, where I put in 30 mins of my usual short strength routine.

and that is all for today.

I was actually looking forward to putting in a solid 2000 yards at the pool today.

Oh well....

and ok winter, this is your last stand, no more.....you have been good, but enough is enough


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K

I completed race #4 this morning, this time up in Washington Heights waaaaaaaay up on 173 st. It was a 5K and I didn't go as hard as I did last weekend. My time was 25:40, or an 8:17 min/mile pace. Thats a really good pace for not going hard and in fact I think I found my 5K pace for my upcoming duathlon and also a good pace for a 5+ mile race, because I could have held that pace for much longer.

This was a fun race because it was an out and back, so you were able to see the elites coming towards you. They were booking it and making it look easy! There were 4 of them keeping pace with each other. I think the winner outkicked the other guy @ the finish in 14:39 or something. Thats insane! I saw them @ mile 1 when they were @ mile 2. yeah.....

There were tons of bands and music out lining the streets. The two best were a REALLY good mariachi band and a high school marching band that was putting out a good beat.

My legs were not firing on all cylinders and I was in a crowded corral, so there was NO room to go fast cuz you would be weaving in and out of people and cutting off people for the entire 5K, which is kinda a rude thing to do, so I held back. It was good though as I will take the 8:17 pace and I learned what holding back is and I found a new pace for some longer runs.

I will take this as a more educational and testing experience rather than a raw "lets see how fast you can go" experience.

February Month in Review

Here are my #'s for February:
Swimming : 14000 yards
Cyling: 240 miles
Running: 46.57 miles
Strength: 3 hours, 45 mins

Total time: 33 hours, 26 mins

They are higher #'s than January for sure, BUT! they need go higher, especially in the pool and running depts. I think my biking is where it should be, but it can go higher as well. Once my running race schedule starts to come down in April, I hope for bigger #'s.