Friday, April 30, 2010

Matt's April Totals

Apr 1st: AM Run 4.8 miles, ABS, PM Swim 2,500
Apr 2nd: Day off
Apr 3rd: AM 10K Central Park Race in 47:19. Afternoon 26.5 mile Bike, 1500m Swim
Apr 4th: Bike 26 miles
Apr 5th: PM Run 6 miles, Yoga
Apr 6th: Swim Lesson. 1000m?
Apr 7th: Masters Swim 1500m
Apr 8th: Day off
Apr 9th: PM Swim 1500
Apr 10th: Afternoon Bike w/ Genine and Maija 3x25 intervals 41 miles.
Apr 11th: 4 Mile Central Park Run as One, Afternoon 2500m Swim
Apr 12th: Yoga
Apr 13th: AM Run 6.6 miles, Swim Lesson around 1500m
Apr 14th: PM Bike Trainer 10 miles, Masters Swim around 2000m
Apr 15th: AM Track workout 4.25 miles total. w/u, 6x400, cd
Apr 16th: PM 4 mile easy run then right to the pool, 2500m
Apr 17th: 34 mile bike Cold/windy
Apr 18th: 4 mile Central Park Run for the parks, 27 miles on the bike trainer.
Apr 19th: Right foot is unhappy as is side of my calf. PM Yoga
Apr 20th: Had to cancel AM run because of foot. PM Swim Lesson 1500m
Apr 21st: PM Masters Swim 3100m. (really good swim night)
Apr 22nd: Day Off. AM Bad foot still, missed Track workout.
Apr 23rd: PM Swim 3000m a ton of pull held 1:40 pace with the buoy.
Apr 24th: AM Run 6 miles. Right foot is at 80% didn’t have a problem running on it. Bike 17 miles Buckman course.
Apr 25th: Afternoon Swim 3150m
Apr 26th: Yoga
Apr 27th: AM Run Hills Loop 4.35 miles. PM Swim Lesson. All drill with fins I’m not going to count any of it in the total.
Apr 28th: AM Yoga/Stretch, PM Masters Swim 2500m, Abs
Apr 29th: AM Track 5 miles. 1600 6:42, 800 3;15 , 400 1:27, PM Abs
Apr 30th: Day Off, PM Abs

Swim: 29,750 (14 workouts)
Bike: 181.5 (7 workouts)
Run: 55.25 miles (11 workouts)
Abs: 4
Yoga: 4

Year totals
Swim: 99,000m
Bike: 530.6 miles
Run: 160.4 miles
Abs: 22
Yoga: 13

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What makes a “good day”

What makes a “good day”? A “good day” being one where you feel great from the moment you wake up. The kind of feeling you hope to get for race day.

Well here it is not even 9AM and I already feel like today is a good day. Which is odd because I probably only slept 5 hours. Our masters swimming class finishes at 9:45 Wednesday night. I find it difficult to fall asleep right away after that. Then I had the alarm set to 4:40AM so that I could be at the track at 5:30 this morning. I figured that this morning’s track workout would feel awful. Instead, I got the opposite. I didn’t have to spend much time stretching out. I felt awake and ready to go. It was very odd. You are supposed to keep track of how you feel so that you can recreate that situation for race week. I’m not sure that this wasn’t just a fluke.

On the drive to the track to meet Todd and Maija, we notice a bunch of cars parked near a popular fishing hole. I was just about to say to Genine, “Those guys are crazy, to get up and already be fishing by 5AM.” Then I realized that they could say the same about us, getting up to run on an oval when it’s 40 degrees out at 5:30 in the morning. Which goes to show, if you enjoy it enough, you will make time for it.
(Yes you read right, Genine was able to run track with us this morning because she is working at the Bloomingdales near our house today, rather than the one 50 miles away)

I’ve made a point of checking out the McMillan pace charts so that as I start ramping up the run volume, I actually run the proper pace. I’ll also check my HR as a reference as well. This morning’s track workout was going to be long warm up with some strides, 1600, 400 easy, 800, 400 easy, 400 then cool down.

The chart has me running the 1600 in 6:55.9 to 7:11.9. I ran a 6:40.
The chart has me running the 800 in 3:14.3 to 3:23.2. I ran a 3:15.
The chart has me running the 400 in 1:35.2 to 1:39.3. I ran a 1:27.

Total mileage 5-5.5 miles. I’ve gotta get my polar watch memory cleared and ready to keep track of this stuff.

The good news is my feet felt really good this morning. I think running hills Tuesday morning was tough on my right foot. Or maybe it’s getting better.

Genine didn’t mention in her post, the 50m race with fins at masters swimming last night. She beat both Shaun and I by a few feet. She definitely finds another gear when she knows it’s going to be a short effort. Which is awesome. She also loves her fins.

The other awesome event last night was another swimmer that has only been swimming with us for a few weeks. He’s just starting out and has plenty of technique work ahead of him, as we all did when we first started. Anyhow, he’s got his first triathlon in a few weeks and he wanted to get used to his new sleeveless wetsuit. So he wore it to masters last night. He reminded me of how I was a couple years ago, plenty of power but lack of technique. When we got to the sprints I think he may have beaten us to the wall. That would equate to about a 25 second improvement per 100m compared to no wetsuit. That sounds like me a couple years ago.
I left thinking how cool it would be to be 20 seconds faster per 100 once I put my wetsuit on for the race! (yes I realize it was a 50m sprint, just sayin’)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brought to you by the letter Q

I'm back from masters swim. So far I have had 3 lessons from Coach Q. Tonight's masters swim was the first time I felt consistently better. I purposely timed my 100's every time tonight. Yes, I know I should do that all the time, but I never do. Honestly, my time isn't the my most important goal right now. Efficiency is. Efficiency with Consistency is my swim slogan. If faster times come along as a by product, then all the better.

Tonight confirmed what Matt has said for some time now - Coach Q rocks. At last night's lesson, we worked solely on drills that gradually pieced together each part of our stroke. The awesome part? Coach Q was in the pool with us demonstrating so I could see it in real life, in the water. Then he would follow along beside us to watch not only on top of, but under the water- moving my body into the correct position when necessary. Amazing! By him moving my arms, hands or hips into the right place, I could immediately feel the movement I should be. For me, the person who loses all body awareness as soon as I get in the water, it was exactly what I needed.

Now, getting back to tonight's times. We did a set of 4 x100. My times were 1:56/ 1:53/ 1:51/1:53. The next set was 4 x200 (100drill- 100swim). My 100 swim times were 1:53/ 1:49?/ 1:53/ 1:51. This was with a moderate effort. My fastest 100 prior to tonight was 2:00- 2:03.

More efficient...yes. Now I'm crossing my fingers for consistency.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kona 2009

I received a DVD of the 2009 IM Kona in the mail today. No other information was included. I have no idea why I received this. Is somebody trying to push me into doing a full iron?

I haven't looked at it yet. It would be cool if they had Chrissie Cam for the start of her bike, just to count how many people she passes. During the live web coverage the commentators were trying to explain the drafting rules of triathlon. She was not a good example, she wasn't matching speed, she was PASSING.

It's too bad Genine saw that I received it. It could have made a good gift. I'm somewhat serious. She spent much of Sunday morning checking in on IM South Africa. Yep. That started at 1AM our time. Bree Wee definitely has a fan here in NJ.

Many thoughts Volume 2- Random Fun Stuff

More random thoughts...not triathlon related, but all things that make me happy. Most are about food. Shocking!

We've recently discovered 2 more reasons to love Wegmans.
Reason#1: Moroccan Lentil with Chick Pea Soup. While in the store doing some shopping, we decided to grab a quick bite from the prepared food section. This was one of the soup selections that day. I opened the lid and the sweet aroma filled my nose...mmmmm. We tried it and immediately needed how to figure out how to make it at home. Luckily the Wegman's website is awesome and Matt easily found the recipe. I made a batch the next day. The taste & spices were pretty good, but it seemed a bit watery when compared to the store's. Since we had thought ahead & bought a pre-made container to take home (to compare taste), I looked at the ingredients listed on the side. The one item missing from my recipe was corn starch. That should thicken it up! I'll let you know how it turns out the next time I make it.

Soup to go from the store.

Soup that I made.
Reason #2: Wegman's sushi bar. Since Matt has somewhat recently discovered a taste for sushi, I have discovered a taste for California brown rice rolls! (now raw fish for me, thanks) it's fun to eat (chopsticks!), high in protein, low in fat and calories. Yum!

And since I'm on a new food trend, let me also share that thanks to my team of crazy girls that work for me and their no-holds-bar take on eating (1 of the many reasons why I love them so much!), I have started eating avocados. Rosa Mexicano is located right beside my store. (Dangerous). Aside from an entire menu of delicious foods, they make the guacamole fresh at table side. After being coaxed into trying one time, I was hooked. All chunky but smooth with the salty tortilla chips.....mmmm. I may or may not have eaten an entire bowl myself. There is a great mexican place close to our house, Sol Mexican Cantina. They also make fresh guacamole.....really dangerous.

A co-worker of mine (who also enjoys good food) recently told me about this fantastic bakery she frequents in Rockland County, NY. She was there this past weekend and brought me back what she calls the best cheesecake ever and a loaf of olive bread. I haven't tried the cheesecake yet, but as you know I'm extremely biased in the cheesecake dept. I'll let you know if it's as good as Jon's...doubtful. The olive bread on the other hand is incredible. Going to try it with some feta and a little balsamic in a moment.

kalmata olives=salty goodness

spinach pie landscape...I recently made this. It' one of our favorites and so simple to make. seemed to go with the olives bread pic.

I'm a tea drinker (love the smell of coffee- can't stand the taste). I am quite fond of spicy teas, chai and mate teas. When we stayed at Kevin & Lara's last month, they had a tea I had never tried before. Good Earth Tea. An instant new favorite. After much searching, I finally found it in NJ at Whole Foods. My mom buys it at Wal-Mart in Warren. Go figure.

tilt your head to the side to read.

What I didn't mention in my last post was that during the 41mile bike I had my first slow speed crash. I was stopped at an intersection waiting for a car to turn left in front of me. No problem. I waited & then clipped in my right foot- ready to go as the car passed. Just as I pushed off, the car paused and I fell over. Not a big deal. It was so uneventful that I forgot to mention it to Matt until the next day.....when I saw this:

oh so pretty.....surprisingly not painful.

We are so glad to have Coach Elana back at masters swim. She was gone from Jan- March at the winter olympics for her job. She brought us back souvenirs. :-)

neon light snow globe for 2014 Winter Olympics...fancy

And lastly, I purchased a new workout top this past weekend. Do I need another top? not really. But I couldn't resist. Now that we're sort of connected to the cause. Cool, right?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Many thoughts Volume 1- triathlon related

I have been wanting to post my thoughts for several weeks now. Yet, time has escaped me. They are rather random...some triathlon related...some not. I'll give it to you in 2 installments.
I guess I'll start with the somewhat triathlon stuff.

As most of you know, my job is crazy off-the-hook busy from August thru December each year (retail...that much is assumed). I've been in the business for 18years. I know what to expect. But something has changed over the past few months/year. The level of expectation, deadlines, store visits and all of the stress-filled days & sleepless-nights that go along with it has not stopped. My body and brain pay the toll each day. My performance at work, at home and training suffers. If I let myself, I can very quickly have a big poor-me pity party. I've decided that is not going to happen. I have the power to chose a different path. I can't tell you yet what the new path will be, where it will take me or when it will happen. but I can tell you now that change is on it's way...stay tuned.

Now, as far as training has been going. It's been a bit of a roller coaster. There have been some good days, but most are just fair...some have been down right awful. What I have had to remind myself of is that I do this for fun. I need to relax and not be so hard on myself. some days it just is what it is. I had a reminder a few weeks ago at the pool. Matt & I were swimming one evening, when the woman in the lane beside me (taking a lesson-obviously a brand new swimmer) sees our swim workout binder. She asks me what it is. I tell her it's a great tool to help keep us on track when we swim on our own, etc. She then says, "I don't know if I will ever be able to swim as well as you". (LOL inside my own head) "But I try my best. I'm doing my first triathlon in July. My goal is to cross the finish line". I told her that I was in her same place last year. She will be great and wished her good luck with her training. That brief moment immediately put things in perspective for me. All I can do is MY best...and that will be good enough.

A couple weekends ago, Matt & I joined up with Maija for one of her long rides. It was 2hrs+ with 5x 20min intervals. My hip, glut, ITB was in poor shape, but it was such a beautiful day. Plus, I have a hard time turning down a ride on new roads. We hadn't seen her in awhile, so it was nice to ride together. We left from her house and traveled some familiar, but many new roads...enjoying the gorgeous scenery. The intervals began climbing. I hung with them for awhile, but once the steep climb started I was dropped. The harder I tried to push the more severe the pain was shooting down the front & back of my left leg. I was most of the way up the hill when I decided to stop and turn around to go back. I didn't want to be the tag-a-long and impede their workout. I also didn't want to risk injuring my leg. Good timing as Matt & Maija had looped back down to meet me. I told them to go on ahead. I was riding back & would meet them back at the house. I was angry and disappointed as I rode off alone. But as I coasted back down the hill, stretching my legs, the anger drifted away. I was off on my OWN adventure now...and I loved it! I felt free as I did my own ride at my own speed and my own intervals. I followed the course backwards, altered slightly, but ended up back at Maija's place only moments before her & Matt. I rode 41.68miles! The same distance they rode. Another lesson in self acceptance. Sometimes you have to break free and allow yourself to do your own thing. It's OK.

As I mentioned before, my hip/leg pain is still giving me grief. It's been pretty severe at times over the past weeks. It is the reason why many workouts have been mediocre at best. At yoga, Tiffany once told me that some people carry stress in their necks, some in their shoulders, or get headaches. Others carry it in their hips...that would be me. And I believe this to be true based upon my stress level recently. I have been keeping up with the yoga, stretching, etc. and I'm booked for a few chiro appts. But last Sunday, I finally went for a 1hour massage. I specified what I wanted worked on. AMAZING!! Why had I not done this sooner? I was so bad, that the guy spent over 30mins digging in the trigger points/ knots on the back of my left leg and ITB! What painful bliss! He felt badly for running out of time for my right leg. I now understand why people go for 90min or 2hr massages. The funny part is that by only having 1 leg worked on, it was CLEARLY evident how beneficial the massage was. Next time: 90mins...starting with the right leg!

Some of the high points have been:
The NYRR races I've done with Matt. I did 2 4milers and a 10k. My times are not stellar, but not bad for me either. It's been good race practice and I've enjoyed them. My hope is to be able to work more on my running, up the miles a bit and not risk my hip/glut flaring up. Maybe the massage and the rolling stick (best gadget EVER!) will help make that a reality.

My swim lessons with Coach Q. 2 so far and 2 or 3 more to go. Surprise...I'm not comfortable in the water. (Unlike swimming bear, it is not my natural habitat.) I'm also a slow learner. The good news? During today's swim I could feel the difference in the water against my hand when I went in high and had to push down at the start of my pull versus my hand going in low and having a powerful pull. Progress!! My goal for these lessons is not necessarily to reduce my times (although that would be nice), but to be more efficient in the water. I don't want to have to work so hard. I think I'm on my way.

And so with Mooseman arriving in 41days, I strive to be at peace with myself and my performance. Whatever is to be will be. I will give it my best. I will cross the finish line and I will be proud race in honor of such amazing people.

As an added bonus for Shawn and Craig (are you still out there?), I'm most likely racing in King of the Hill vs. Jerseyman as my local warm-up race prior to Mooseman. Jerseyman falls on the same weekend that we will be in MD for Columbia, so this is the next closest race I could find that fit our schedule. What do you think guys...good practice for Tango??

Next up: Volume 2- all the random Fun Stuff. Here's a couple teasers...
guacamole, california rolls, soup.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking ahead to the marathon

I had to bail on the track workout this morning because of my foot. If you can't run, you may as well think about running. ;-)

I've used Hal Higdon's Guides for 5Ks and 10Ks in the past. I like that he gives so many different plans to choose from.

I checked out the novice 2 plan. Run 4 days a week. Longest run is one 20 miler. Biggest mileage week is 35 miles. This is probably the most reasonable plan if I'm going to continue to swim and bike the majority of the schedule.

Maybe it's because they called it a novice plan that I had to look at the intermediate 1 schedule. This has you running 5 days a week instead of 4. You run 20 miles twice and you run 43 miles in a week twice.
Hmmm. For whatever reason, that plan sounds like you would be much more prepared. Yet the reality is my monthly run totals have all been under 45 miles. The first 4 weeks of this schedule totals 100 miles. That sounds like a bunch of running. How many for the Novice 2? 79 miles, that's a bunch too.
Alright that helps put it into perspective for me. I don't plan on starting a marathon plan until July 5th. I'll just have to see how my run mileage adds up over the next couple of months. Not to mention my race schedule should be locked in by then. Yeah, I'm not sure what's going to happen after these first 2 races.

Columbia May 23rd and the Mooseman June 5th Olympic Distances are definite. After that it's awfully foggy. Currently my next race would be the Tango Aug 7th. (There is a subject that needs to be discussed soon, relay teams again?) Timberman 70.3 is even looking a bit foggy for me right now which is disappointing but there is still time for me to adjust my schedule. I may have to sign up for a couple other races just in case that falls through.

Possible race options. (not sure if they are open). RI 70.3. NJ State Olympic. Opting to race the Tango Solo or perhaps as a 2 person relay again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's more like it

Masters swim tonight, I was kind of dragging on the way over. I was very tired all day. Genine was so tired she didn't go with me.
After warming up 300m, Shaun and I had a 100,200,300,400,300,200,100 as our first set. Turns out tonight is one of those nights where I have good balance, timing and energy. I can only hope it's because the adjustments from my lessons are sinking in.
Then 300 m of easy/kick/easy
After that we had 600m of drills
Then 4x50 race with :45 rest (Shaun crushed these) My best was probably :48.
100 cd

3100m of what has been one of my best feeling swims in a long time. I really hope that it wasn't just a fluke. When I'm swimming this well, it really makes me want to swim more because it feels like progress is being made. Swimming can become tedious if you don't have something specific you are trying to improve.

So frustrating

Yep, going to post about my feet again. The ball of my right foot hurt enough on Monday that I put myself in the back row. I figured there was a good chance that some of the poses I'd have to completely bail on because of the pain. Fortunately I made it through the class without any trouble.

I was supposed to run Tuesday morning but that seemed like a stupid idea so I called Todd and canceled the run. It would have been nice to say, I took the "run time" to stretch, foam roller, roll out with "the stick" but that wasn't the case. Instead I went to work early after dropping the car off at the garage. Walking to work from the train station, I realized that I had another problem. That muscle in my leg that goes from ankle to knee that really gave me trouble last year, it was crazy tight. Probably from the biking, I can't let that get out of control again this year.

After work Genine and I had our swim lesson. Swimming is so odd in that you can do so many things wrong and each thing can have a huge impact on your feel and therefore your progress. It's kind of funny to think of the things you do wrong swimming (but don't know it) and apply it to running.
Arms Crossing Over: Legs crossing over while running.
Legs dropping low: Running hunched over.
Short Stroking: would probably look like an awkward jog.
Breathing issues: Holding your breath, Tilting your head back for air

I think one of the biggest points the coach made yesterday which could be easily forgotten because it's not really technical or specific, is that swimming is largely about feeling the water. Much of his instruction is feel based. When he sees something he wants to correct he will ask something like "Where do you feel that you are catching the most water". If you don't know he will have you swim, having you think about that specific thing. Then instruct you what he'd like you to try. While you try it you are to feel how it is different and then explain why that is better for your swimming.
It's interesting to see Genine go through this. I feel she's going down the exact same path that I traveled last year. So many things to think about that it's somewhat overwhelming/frustrating. Then to swim really well for 25m only to make the turn and not have it at all. Of course I still feel this way, that's why I'm back taking lessons.
Of course it's also very cool to see how fast she is when she has one of those "perfect" laps. Those perfect laps keep you going back. It shows you that it's possible with practice.
She can already beat me at sprints, how long until she beats me on the 1500? :-)

Alright because Shawn and Craig don't post much anymore, the blog gets to be pretty boring. So I'll make fun of the fact that I tend to overuse and misuse quotation marks. I only hope I'm not as bad as these examples.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Because my laptop is out for service, I'm going to jot a few notes here so I don't forget them.

Saturday 34 mile bike, windy, cold.
Sunday Run 4 mile race. 27 miles on bike trainer.

I'm somewhat amazed at how good my left foot feels. To even things out, the ball of my right foot is now sore. I think it started when I ran the 4 miles Thursday night wearing an older pair of shoes and I didn't put my Sole inserts into them. Then it may have been aggravated further from the bike shoes. I think I might need to put the Sole inserts into those as well.

I also spent time checking out my cleats on the bike shoes. Genine and I measured them up and they are set almost exactly the same. I think knowing that fact finally gave me confidence that it can't possibly feel that much differently than my left shoe which feels perfect. Not surprising then that my 27 miles on the trainer, I didn't once think about my right shoe.

I've also been researching options for how to add in the marathon training. I have a feeling that my biking may take a back seat starting in September.

Finally, last night was the first night where my legs have cramped up while I'm sleeping. I think it's time I start taking the electrolyte capsules to see if that helps out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NYRR Run for the Parks 4 miler

Early 8AM start, Todd picks me up at 6:15. Genine isn't going with us. She scheduled a massage instead. Ummm, how did that happen?? Ha ha.

Easy drive in, not as quick to find a parking place. Which doesn't leave us much time. It was 10 minutes before the start of the race when we checked the bags. Warmup consisted of jogging to the race start and then a short burst of speed. So another week with a bad warmup, not a big deal.

I biked 34 miles in the cold yesterday, ran 4 miles Friday and the track workout Thursday. I have no expectation of having an awesome race. It will be in line with the rest of them for sure but unlikely to be the fastest so far.
Also after seeing Jon's splits from last weekend's 4 miler, the concept of running today's race with negative splits was on my mind. I'm in the middle of the 2nd corral. I should probably start making a point of moving further ahead in the corral because other than the Brooklyn race, I always find myself feeling like I'm being held back in traffic for the first mile.

Alright, so if I'm going for negative split, I've gotta keep my HR at about 180 for the first couple miles.
Mile 1: 7:16 175HR
Mile 2: 7:11 182 HR
Mile 3: 7:33 185HR
Mile 4: 7:13 187 HR
Finish time of 29:13 7:18 avg pace
Not a negative split but perhaps more even that I've had in the past.

I can't help but think about last years 15K where I averaged a 7:24 pace. I keep thinking I'm way behind on the training this year. I'm guessing it's not a very good comparison tho'. I'm willing to bet that I really tapered for that race last year. Whereas this year, I've been treating the races as part of the training. I've been doing so many of them, it's impossible for me to taper for them. Today was my 7th race in 10 weeks. I've got to trust that when I finally taper for the Columbia Triathlon, that I'll find myself feeling a whole lot better than I have been during these races. Or maybe that should say, still suffering but with a better result.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today’s track workout #1

I was hoping I’d have time to look up a few things online to make a multi-week plan but that didn’t happen in time for this morning’s run. So when Todd asked what kind of pain we were planning for the day, I didn’t have much of an answer. I seem to remember a workout a couple years ago starting with 400’s at a 10k pace, then speeding up to a 5K pace, then going all out. So six 400’s, that would be a good place to start, keep it reasonable, no injuries.

We jog for 4 or 5 laps to warm up. It’s 38 degrees out after all. Then we run our first 400, shooting for our 10K pace. My time is… 1:36 or a 6:24 pace. Yeah, that’s way faster than my 5K pace. It wasn’t all out and we weren’t dying so we decide to roll with it. 2nd 400 in 1:33, 3rd 400 in 1:34. It seems that I can hold this pace well with 400 recovery jogs in between. We decide to do the next 2 all out. 4th 400 in 1:26 or 5:44 pace. 5th in 1:29. 6th we back off to our original pace and I’m right back to 1:35.
Then we jog our cool down. Total run time about 47 minutes. This is when I realized that my arms and hands were freezing. Moving my thumbs actually sent shocks of pain through my forearms. Very strange. I’ll make sure I have my gloves with me next time.

I honestly had no clue how fast I’d run 400’s in the past. I think in 2009 there were a few random track workouts. It was the fall of 2008 that we actually had a group that ran track workouts for a few months. So I went back in the blog archives and found that by the 6th track workout I had my 400 time down to 1:20 or 5:20 pace.
Knowing that makes me hopeful that I might be able to add some speed in what feels like a very short time before Columbia (38 days) and Mooseman. (51 days) I doubt I'll do a track workout the week of Columbia so if all works out I've got 4 more track sessions. I also have 2 races planned. The 4 miler in Central Park this Sunday and a 10K in Central Park on May 15th, the weekend before Columbia.

I was hoping to swim tonight but NJ Transit stopped that from happening. Switch problems had me sitting on a train for an hour before leaving NYC. Then when I transferred to my other train in Newark there was a medical emergency. I think it was a 2.5 hour trip home tonight. Blah.

April Volume is looking good

Apr 1st: AM Run 4.8 miles, ABS, PM Swim 2,500

Apr 2nd: Day off

Apr 3rd: AM 10K Central Park Race in 47:19. Afternoon 26.5 mile Bike, 1500m Swim

Apr 4th: Bike 26 miles

Apr 5th: PM Run 6 miles, Yoga

Apr 6th: Swim Lesson. 1000m?

Apr 7th: Masters Swim 1500m

Apr 8th: Day off

Apr 9th: PM Swim 1500

Apr 10th: Afternoon Bike w/ Genine and Maija 3x25 intervals 41 miles.

Apr 11th: 4 Mile Central Park Run as One, Afternoon 2500m Swim

Apr 12th: Yoga

Apr 13th: AM Run 6.6 miles, Swim Lesson around 1500m

Apr 14th: PM Bike Trainer 10 miles, Masters Swim around 2000m

Apr 15th: AM Track workout 4.25 miles total. w/u, 6x400, cd. Will likely swim PM


Swim: 14,000

Bike: 103.5

Run: 31.9 miles

Abs: 1

Yoga: 2


Year totals

Swim: 83,250m

Bike: 452.6 miles

Run: 141.4 miles

Abs: 19

Yoga: 11

I need to get back on the Abs workouts. I was seeing some good improvements. Only so much time in a day, tough to fit it all in.

My foot / plantar fasciitis

I'm almost afraid to say it but I think it's true. My foot is starting to feel better!
Maybe going to the doctor and having them tell me nothing helpful was the turning point.
Or maybe it was the doctor that I didn't see because when I got there they didn't take my insurance.
Or maybe it knows I've got a marathon to run in less than 7 months.

Realistically, it's probably because of the night splint Jim loaned me. (Which I feel I should just buy from him at this point). I've been using it with an ice pack for weeks/months now, it's probably finally paying off. I've also stretched lowering the heel off of a stair, a few times a day if not more. I've also added the toe point circles in both directions.
I'm not sure why it's better, but I hope it continues to improve.

My training volume is climbing again so I was concerned that my foot might get worse. The intensity has also gone up. I'll be in NYC for a race again this weekend. That's 4 weekends in a row. Also, today was the start of morning track workouts. Todd and I were at RVCC track at 5:30AM. We were glad to have finally started speedwork again. (I'm afraid to look at my splits and compare to previous years tho'). It also looks like we will finally get all 3 of our planned runs in this week. It's probably been over a year since we've been able to say that. I think there is some momentum behind this right now. The marathon is definitely a good motivator.

I just looked up when this plantar fasciitis thing started for me. I found a couple of posts about it on September 2nd and September 9th of last year. Yeah, it's time for this problem to go away.

Moving on to swimming. Genine missed the lesson on Tuesday because of work. So I got an entire hour of instruction. The good news was my hand entry is already wider and my left arm recovery is getting better. I still have to think about it, eventually it will forget the old way.
The new problems are body position as I fatigue. Which is probably from low back weakness. I'll continue to work on my Locust Pose and that should help. Also I was concerned about my pull especially on my left. As it turns out, each arm had issues. My right hand turns away from the pressure at the strongest part of the pull, which defeats the purpose. I also need to focus on catching water way out in front with both sides. I am inconsistent with how I catch and pull.
Those were the bigger issues, there were many other things as well. I'm sure they will be covered again in future posts.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bonus Money Weekend

Why bonus money weekend? Tax Return? Nope, although that should arrive soon too. Friday’s mail had 2 envelopes that were good.

First was a check from the Advertising company that used the picture I took of Laurel Wassner at Uberman last summer, and they turned it into a Nike/Livestrong Ad.

Second was a new set of credit cards we had to activate. Yes, I realize that’s not my money and that there are really big interest rates that go with that. The card is actually a card we don’t use all that much but we’ve had it for years. Anyhow, when I call to activate. The guy at the other end was in full on sales mode. Typically I tell them to cut to the chase let’s get this card activated and be done with it. Which I was kind of in the middle of doing when he mentioned that it appears I haven’t cashed in any of our awards points. Alright, maybe I should listen and find out just how many magazine subscriptions I’m going to be “awarded”. Well it happens to be a bit better than that, you can trade them in for gift cards to Best Buy, Amazon and other retail places like that. He says if I trade all the points in I’d have over $300. Nice! Maybe we should use this card more often. Ha ha.

That covers the plus side of the cash flow situation. Because the world is always seeking balance, let’s take a look at the outgoing from the last week.

Well we wrote our last check to our contractor (not the original one, we had to fire him), they are just cleaning stuff out at this point. It seems that we survived the projects. We have a ton to finish ourselves ($$) but at least people aren’t in our house anymore. Maybe I'll finally post some pictures of the before and after.

The 2001 Jetta had to have a new front hub and wheel bearings replaced on both sides last week. That was about $600. I think there are issues with the rear wheels as well, so I’m probably not done spending money there.

The 2002 TDI Golf, well at 170,000 miles I think the transmission is starting to have problems. So we were at the Dealer on Friday after work and we took a test drive of the 2010 Jetta Wagon TDI. It’s very familiar feeling although there are a couple things of note. It doesn’t sound like a lawn tractor. Also it’s 140 HP vs the 90 HP we currently have and the new shifting is very quick/smooth. When decelerating it actually felt a bit like driving a stick, there was engine compression in the mix. Of course it has a ton of new features that didn’t exist back in 2002. Bluetooth built in for your cell phones and your contacts will load onto the LCD display of the dash. iPod dock, again integrated into the LCD display and stereo controls. The sunroof is nearly the entire roof of the car. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of that but it will make it easier to look up and make sure our bikes are still attached to the roof of the car. The one thing I think the car is missing and I’m curious how much it would be missed. A center console arm rest. Unless I missed something, there doesn’t seem to be one.

If we end up buying this car that would mean we would have two Jetta Wagons which is kind of odd. The old one is a V6 so 26mpg is about as much as you can hope for. This TDI would get us 41mpg which is in line with with the Golf it would be replacing. Genine drives 500+ miles a week, it adds up quickly.

It’s an expensive car (in my opinion) I’m certainly looking at other options. If you have a suggestion let me know.

All right enough of that, back to triathlon related stuff. I overslept my Saturday morning run with Todd. I’ve got to get back on my early morning wakeup plan.

I suppose the fact I missed the run meant that when we went biking with Maija in the afternoon, I had fresh legs and was able to stay closer than I typically do.

Sunday: the 4 mile race which I already posted about. Later in the afternoon Genine and I got to the pool and finished 2500m. I was really focusing on my left arm. I think my arm recovery is getting better. Now I think my biggest question is my pull. At the latest when we do the video analysis on May 1st, I’m hoping I’ll get a ton of feedback on this. I feel like I have 3 different ways of pulling and I switch between them as I fatigue. I’m not sure if that’s really the case but I’m sure it’s worth looking at.

As for next weekend, I’m torn as to what I want to do. Of course there is yet another 4 mile run in Central Park which would go towards my 9+1. If Todd is signed up and is going to run, I’ll likely do that. The other draw to Manhattan is that there is a MultiSport Expo going on that day. I haven't looked into this too closely but it looks like it could be interesting.

The other option is an Event in NJ called Miles for Mathney. There are runs and bike rides as part of this event and it supports a good cause. Their one bike route is 56 miles of hills, I keep saying I need to bike the Half Iron distance more than once before Timberman this year. This would be a step in the right direction.

Edit: As I was walking around NYC during lunch on Monday, I picked up a $20 off the sidewalk. I look at the 3 people that were in the area, holding the $20 up as if to say, did you drop this? The first 2 kept walking the other woman sitting there said, "it's yours now".

It's a shame that my "Won the Lottery" post didn't have the same follow through.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'll just pace this... or not.

Central Park Run as One 4 mile race.

Overdressed for this race. I guess I need to start bringing a couple options with me to these races. I think it was 40ish when I left the house this morning. I thought about switching to the tech shirt I got at the race but I wouldn't have a way to carry my cell phone on the run. I felt odd about leaving my cell phone in baggage check. Is that dumb? Do the majority of people check the cell phones?

I checked myself in as 7:15 pace. I didn't really get much of a warmup. They were announcing that if you weren't in the corral at 8:45 they would send you to the back. Not sure if they really enforced this. Maybe they say that every week and I'm just nowhere near the speakers to have heard it before.

So as I'm standing there, I'm wondering how this is going to feel today. I kind of think that I'll probably run it like the 10K. Just hang out around 180-185 HR and not suffer.

Race starts, it's plenty packed. I don't even try to bob and weave at all it didn't look like it was going to get me much. I figure I'll go with the flow. I get to the first mile marker and I figure it's going to be an 8:xx it didn't feel very quick at all. It was a 7:25 and my max HR was 181. Hmmm that's surprising.

Things are opening up a bit, I focus on form on the hills making sure I take what I can get from them. Next mile 7:04 pace, my HR monitor was flaking out or I had a 96 max :-). Well now, that 7:04 has me thinking I need to push myself through this race.

Mile 3 I think is the toughest mile on the course. 7:40 pace max HR 191, avg 182. Yep I've gotta do more hill work. Not awful tho I'm wishing I had switched shirts at this point.

Mile 4 tired legs, I'm not doing a good job at running the down hills. HR is up there and I plan to keep it there to the end. 188 avg, 193 max. 7:28 pace for the final mile.

So what does that give me? 29:38 official time. Not my best 4 miler this year. In fact I think it's my worst outside of the Haiti Jog. Not too far off the mark tho'.

That was my 6th race towards the 9+1 for next year. The 2010 marathon counts as well, so I've only got 2 more races to do and the Volunteering then I'm in for the 2011 NYC Marathon as well.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Crazy Biking Injury

Genine was blog surfing a few weeks back and found a blog asking for pictures of really bad race injuries to win prizes. I'll admit, I didn't even look at it. Stuff like that really messes with my head.

Well today I saw some pictures of what I would imagine would have won that blog contest.
I really wish I hadn't seen these pictures, yet I'm posting them to share with everyone. (go figure)

I'm guessing most of you will look away or at least exclaim something out loud when you see the 2nd and 3rd picture. You were warned.
Here is the link. Hand Brake

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fired up about swimming

Tuesday was a swim lesson, Wednesday was masters swimming.
I mentioned to the coach at masters how I'm trying to fix my left arm recovery. She watches for a bit then mentions that my left arm pull is going wrong as well. She pulls out the video camera and then shows me what it looks like and explains that I need to think about pulling straight back, rather than the mess I've got going on now.
Within a couple laps, I'm much closer to what we are looking for. It doesn't sound like much but I'm very excited about this. I don't think I've been getting much propulsion from my left arm these last few years. What I'm doing now feels great and makes so much more sense. Not to mention it feels powerful. Finally!
So I'm fired up, this feels like a significant breakthrough for me. I guess the numbers will let me know over the next few weeks.

Won the lottery.

Today they announced the winners of the 2010 NYC Marathon lottery.
I'm in!
I kind of got butterflies in my stomach when I read the news. I think my longest run has been 15 miles. 26.2 miles still sounds like a long way to run. I've been told this is a great first marathon because of the huge crowd/fan support.

This was my 3rd year trying to get in by lottery. After being denied 3 years I would have been in in 2011. Now I will continue with the 9+1 NYRR races this year to make sure I have the option to run the marathon again in 2011. I hear it's kind of addictive. I guess I'll find out if that holds true for me.

I'll have to look at a marathon training plan to see if I have to change anything before my Half Iron Triathlon in mid August. I'm kind of hoping I can get through Timberman, then move onto the marathon plan after that. More on all that later.

Swim Lesson

This is a few weeks later than I had hoped I’d be writing this post but the flooding in the area closed the pool where we were to have the lessons. Genine was out back of the college running a track workout with Maija right before the lesson. I was already in the pool warming up and still no sign of Genine. Hmmm. Fortunately the coach ran over a few minutes long with the student ahead of us. She got there and certainly didn’t miss out on anything.

Because it’s been months since the last lesson he starts out by just watching me swim 100. At the end of that 100 he’s got 3 things for me:
Hands are too close in front of me, not crossing over but close.
Not enough depth at the catch.
And the ever present funky kick on my left side.

Depth at the catch is an easy fix for me, that’s just a matter of me not being confident in where that catch needs to be.

Keeping the hands wide. Part of this is thinking about where to place your hands in the water when going for the catch but there is a component of the recovery stroke that was involved as well.

So I’m lying on my side on the deck, one arm out in front beneath me. The other is practicing the recovery portion of the stroke. By doing this it becomes obvious that I draw my elbow and hand too closely to my body. Once I adjust my arm travel to the correct path, it’s actually much less effort muscularly.
When I switch to my other side to get the feel for it with my left arm, we see just how bad my recovery stroke is on this side. It actually would likely cause me to over rotate. At which point I say, that would probably explain my funky kick on this side. He agreed, I was throwing my balance off so badly that I would attempt to correct my position with an exaggerated kick. Fantastic! Once I adjust this I’m going to get 2 or 3 fixes for the price of one.

Back into the water to swim a couple laps. I’m surprised to find that I’ve got a pretty good feel for the recovery stroke. Meaning I was able to feel when I was doing it properly. Hopefully I can keep that feeling around for a bit so I can work this thing out.

My final question to him is what I feel is likely the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I mention to him my overused left elbow/bicep and the fact that I don’t feel that I swim using my lats at all. We discuss how being wider at the catch will likely solve some of that but that it sounds like we need to take a closer look at what my arm does at the start of the pull. I actually think my left arm may be cheating and my right might not be so bad.
We really didn’t have time left to address this beyond deciding that one arm drills with the other arm held tight against the body is a good drill to focus on the start of the pull and I should switch every 4 or so to compare left to right.

Lastly we discussed race season, which he obviously takes very seriously because he was concerned that we are starting too late. Our homework is to time a 500m race and have those results for him next week. From that we will create goals to give our workouts a bit more direction.

I’m not sure if Genine will have time to write a post any time soon or not, so I’ll throw this little bit out there because it’s fun.
Early on in the lesson, I was finishing some of the swims well ahead of Genine. Coach looks at me and says. “She looks really strong”. I said “No doubt about that, she can out sprint me on a 25m”. He gave a surprised look, Genine gets to the wall and the lesson moves on.
Towards the end of the lesson, he says, “It’s time for a 25yd sprint, I’ve got to see you beat him”. Genine stepped up to the challenge and beat me to the wall. He tells me to shorten up my stroke and swim like a sprinter for the next one. She still beats me, improving her time over the first one. Fun stuff.

My favorite comment of the night: “if you are swimming in the proper position, it should feel like you are gliding as if you are skating”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good thing I don't have a coach.

I had to take half a day off work today to go see another doctor about this plantar fasciitis foot of mine. I get to the office and tell them I'm a new patient. I hand them my insurance card. They tell me they don't accept this insurance. I tell them we had this discussion when we made the appointment, May 3rd is when you stop accepting this insurance. Oh... well sort of. If you had the HMO plan and not this Choice Select plan that would be true. There you have it.
I guess I'm not meant to get any professional help about this foot problem. I'll just keep using the ice and splint every night until.... whenever it happens to go away.

So what does this have to do with not having a coach. Well it was 80 degrees out, so even though a swim would have been the smartest thing to do, who want's to be inside on a day like this? So I went home, put on my running shorts and went running. It was U G L Y. I "ran" 6 miles. The whole time I was running I was thinking, how productive is this really? I'm sure if I had a coach, they would be calling me a dumb ass right now. Ah well, I don't have a coach and I got to be out on a really beautiful spring day. I can't complain.

I find out Wednesday if I'm in the 2010 NYC Marathon. Wahoo!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

10K race / Reverse Olympic Triathlon Day

Genine and I started out our morning by going into the city to run the Scotland Run 10K in Central Park. We left home a little later than we wanted and we didn't have such good luck finding parking. Last week was a fluke perhaps. There was still an hour before the race but packet pickup was only 30 more minutes. So I decided I'd pull into a lot and ask how much to park for 5 hours. $48 was the answer. I put it into reverse and I'm back on the street just in time to watch someone pull out of their parking spot. Awesome.

The weather is perfect today. It's going to be very comfortable in Shorts and a T-shirt today.

I'm not sure if there were more people racing this weekend or what was going on. It was wasn't the nice relaxed situation we had last weekend at the 4 miler. Not a big deal, we got our race packets, bag checked and whatnot without a problem. It just didn't leave me enough time to warm up.

I was bib 2686, so I was in the 3rd corral and it really looked like there could be 2000 or so people ahead of me. Really not a big deal. I put myself in the back of the corral because I know I'm not going to go all out today. No warm-up and I'm really not feeling great. Oddly enough even tho' I'm telling myself I'm not going to race it. I think I told Genine that I was hoping to manage a 7:30 min/mile pace... That really doesn't make sense.

Gun goes off, we wait, we jog, we wait and jog over the start line. It's congested and the corral thing must not have been well enforced. There are just too many people shuffling along getting in the way of everyone. (of course the solution to my problem is to start running 6:30's and better so I'm always up front, right?) Anyhow, I know it will probably get better after a couple miles. Speaking of miles. Here comes the first mile marker and I'm in at 7:52. HR Avg 169. I really couldn't have run any faster than that, I was moving with the herd. Not a big deal.
I forgot to mention my foot pod was dead. So I've got my heart rate on my watch but no pacing or distance information.
Seeing 7:52 made me kick it into gear. I know I said I'm not going to go all out but I'm not going to jog it either. So I make it to mile marker 2 in 7:22 with 182 HR avg. That's more like it.
Now this next mile is a part of Central Park that I've never run before. We are running the north end of the park today. As I'm running along I suddenly hear "GO MATT". There was Ruth cheering, nice work spotting me on the run Ruth! So I've been told this part of the park is quite hilly. I do alright with hills typically and I can't say there was anything out of the ordinary about this section of the course. I get to marker 3 in 7:29 with 182 HR avg but 192 max.
I've been trying to keep my heart rate right around 185. That's a comfortable number for me, it means I'm working but I'm not dying.
I don't remember what the hills were like for this next section. All I know is I was somewhat surprised to see 7:50 on my watch when I hit mile marker 4 and 188 avg HR.
I wanted to make some of that time back up but I didn't want to take my HR up too far. I really focused on my stride and my arms for the next mile and I got to mile 5 in 7:31 186 avg HR. Amazing what a little focus can do for you.
Okay, so about 1.25 miles to go, I'm really not going to change a thing. I just stayed focused and got to Mile 6 in 7:39 with 188 avg HR.
Alright, I'll turn it up a bit for the finish. My next split was 1:32 which is about a 7:10 min/mile, 198 max HR. It's always a bummer if you don't have a kick at the end and you watch people pass in the final 200m.
My finish time was 47:17 or a 7:37 min/mile pace. I'll take that. I couldn't help but think how much more comfortable that run was for me compared to my last 3 races. Not once today was I pushing hard enough that I felt like I should stop and take a break. A much less mentally stressful race today.

Now I'll admit when I got home, I looked up the MacMillan pace charts to see just how badly I sandbagged today. It said I should have finished in 45:55 or a 7:23 min/mile pace. That makes sense to me. If I would have run that fast today, my brain would have been screaming at me to stop starting around mile 2/3. Ha ha!

After the race, Genine and I met up with Ruth and Heather for Brunch. That was great. I haven't had a chance to catch up with them in quite awhile. It definitely was the more enjoyable part of our trip to the city.

When we get home, Genine tried to take a quick nap while I loaded the bikes onto the car and got all our stuff together. I don't think she got much sleep but at least it was a bit of a break.

For my bike today, I wanted to put in an effort that would be a little bit easier in comparison to my run today. Meaning it should be a comfortable fun ride. I was really surprised at how good my legs felt. Maybe the warm weather? Our ride didn't include much in the way of hills (that's probably why the legs felt good) but we got in 26.5 miles of really nice riding.

Last stop, the pool for a short swim. I did 5 100's very slowly as a warmup. My ribs on the right side were somewhat tweaked, so I made a point of not going for speed at all today (guess that's today's theme). I just did 2 more sets of 500m and figured that completed the triathlon for the day.

Oddly enough, I felt better after doing all that than I did before the start of the run in Central Park today. I hope I'm still saying that tomorrow morning.

NYRR Scotland 10K Run

Quick post.

Unofficially Matt finished in 47:19 so 7:37 min/mile.
Unofficially Genine finished in 58:52 9:29 min/mile.

More later. Too nice out! We need to be outside!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Matt's March Totals

Mar 1st: PM Yoga, Abs, Pushups

Mar 2nd: PM Abs

Mar 3rd: AM Bike 15 miles, PM 3 mile Treadmill Run Intervals. Abs, Pushups

Mar 4th: PM swim 2000m

Mar 5th: Movie night “Alice @ IMAX 3D”

Mar 6th: AM Hill Run w/ Todd 6.5 miles, PM Swim w/ Genine 2800m

Mar 7th: PM Bike outdoors 26.5miles. PM Abs

Mar 8th: PM Yoga

Mar 9th: AM Run 6.5 miles w/Todd run from Y 3 loops. PM swim 3000m

Mar 10th: Off

Mar 11th: Fly to Florida

Mar 12th: Off

Mar 13th: Golf

Mar 14th: 5k Trail run in Florida. 22:11. Lungs aren’t happy with me

Mar 15th: Off

Mar 16th: Golf in Florida, Fly back to NJ. Lost my voice

Mar 17th: No voice. Lungs are still a bit of a mess. Some Abs

Mar 18th: Lungs still bad. PM Swim 2200m

Mar 19th: Off

Mar 20th: 28 mile Bike then directly into the pool for 3000m. Main set 3x500 on 10:00. 8:59, 9:06, 9:10

Mar 21st: AM 6 mile easy run, afternoon 15.6 mile easy Bike (still sick)

Mar 22nd: Sick went to the Dr

Mar 23rd: ABS. Yoga at home. Lunges

Mar 24th: Run 3 miles easy

Mar 25th: Swim 3000m

Mar 26th: OFF

Mar 27th: 39 mile bike, ABS

Mar 28th: Run 4 Mile Central Park Race

Mar 29th: PM Yoga

Mar 30th: ABS, Swim 2800m

Mar 31st: ABS


Swim: 17,800

Bike: 124.1 miles

Run: 32 miles

Abs: 9

Yoga: 3


Year totals

Swim: 69,250m

Bike: 349.1 miles

Run: 109.5 miles

Abs: 18

Bad recovery.. or maybe I'm old

So last night was bike night. First I needed to do some stretching and some abs. At which point I realized my hamstrings were really sore. Then I found there were a ton of other small hip/groin muscles that weren't exactly awesome either. The thing that finished me was I realized my sciatic nerve in my left leg was buggin'. Alright, no bike tonight. There's no sense making that situation worse. More stretching and an aleve.
This morning was run morning with Todd at 5:45. We started out slowly, my hamstrings were still very tight. We stop and stretch. We run another mile or so. We stop and stretch. We run one loop of our hill loop and decide it's probably best to leave it at that and run back to the Y. The legs were getting worse along the way. It was sad. I guess it was the toll for the race on Sunday, and for the lack of attention regarding smart recovery the last few days.

I'm thinking the 10k on Saturday is looking like it's going to be a training run rather than a race. Unless my legs decide differently in the next 2 days. It will be tough for me not to "go for it" on race day but if the legs are still tight, it's going to be the right thing to do.