Friday, May 14, 2010

3 weeks in review

 As some of you may know, I'm more of a "glass half empty" kind of person. I get easily mired in negativity, self doubt, and the like. When 3 weeks ago I came down with some sort of weird but very painful throat condition, the glass and my training were more like 1/4 full, at best. I took off 3 days that week. Didn't swim or run at all for a whole week. Just barely made it to the gym to get on the elliptical or bike to do something with my body. I haven't slept so few hours in a long long time. It was demoralizing. It seemed go on forever, but really I think it was the sleep and workout deprivation that just made me lose track of my usual sense of time and order in things. I am also trying to finish up my dissertation in the last then 6 (now 3) weeks before I move and start my new job. Writing for me is a painful (and generally not so rewarding) activity. Writing without a way of blowing off steam...really quite difficult. On the 9th day of sickness I was feeling well enough to try out a run. James and I planned an easy 6 miles. It was not meant to be. It was hot, humid, sticky, and horrible outside. Not a great return to running - my lungs were burning, eventhough we were crawling along at a 9 minute pace. We even cut the run short and walked the last 2 miles home.  I decided it was better to take it easy than my system any more than it was already. Monday morning I woke up to an email from one of my dissertation committee members saying that he was no longer available on the day we had all agreed would be my Defense date (August 20). As I scrambled to get in touch with my mentor and start working on a plan (its surprisingly difficult to get 4 faculty members into a room for 2 hours during summer) a fantasy came to mind: If I finished writing this week and could only convince my mentor to read a draft in the following week, we could push the date up to June (before I start my new job). Although a stressful idea, there was a part of me that wished this would be the outcome. It was not. Mentor couldn't commit to reading that soon. Another member didn't want to meet in June before our big annual conference. Blah blah blah. But it pointed out to me that this dissertation is close to being finished. There is no reason to wait. I need to JUST DO IT. And this changed things. I wrote 3 times that week. I didn't back off when it got painful, when I got negative, when I wanted to scrap the whole thing. I finished a draft. And somehow, in the midst of that I started an awesome stretch of training. Workout after workout, better and better. My lungs returned. My energy returned. I started to have that "I could be a triathlete" feeling. Notes on workouts M-F below:

5/3 60minute spin - solo
Whole hour in the saddle at 90+ rpm, riding moderate to moderately heavy gears.
legs felt better at the end of the ride than when i started. love that.

2500m swim
first mile in 26:42
whole swim felt great. glad to be back in the water and having my lungs cooperate

5/4 65minute spin, 3.7mile run (BRICK)
Nothing special but glad to have my running legs back.

5/5 60minute spin (solo), 3200m swim

5/6 60minute spin, 7.2mile run (BRICK)
9:20, 8:18, 7:27, 8:41, 7:42, 8:22, 8:30
first 10k in 51:20 w/last mile in 8:40
7.2 mi in exactly 60:00

5/7 2400m swim
James left town for 9 days. Up early to see him off
Energy really low going in. plan at least 1600m easy pace
first 1600m in 29:00 then another 800 easy with bilateral breathing last 400m

Then came the weekend. By this point my draft was complete and I was feeling pretty good. I was playing with various ideas about long training days this weekend and next. With James out of town I figured there would be more time in the day and less structure. What better way to fill in than with long workouts. Saturday I did my regular 2+ hour ride. It was solid and I felt very good afterward. Spent the afternoon and evening at a wedding where I consumed more alcohol (I'm not usually much of a drinker) and sweets than necessary. Sunday I woke up and couldn't quite get going.  Thought about running with a friend but couldn't quite decide. Finally after much procrastination headed to the gym. It was 40, raining, with 25mph winds. In the winter running in that kind of weather might make me feel hardcore but I just wasn't into it. I ended up having my longest run ever. On the treadmill!?! 14 miles in 2 hours. I even ran the first 13.1 in 7 seconds faster than my half marathon finish time (is it a PR if I've only run one HM?). Is it a PR if it comes on a training run? Is it a PR if I was on the treadmill. Regardless of what it was. It felt awesome. Started having fantasies of Half Ironmans in my future. In an effort not to get too caught up in that fantasy (one that I am not, SHOULD not consider until 2011) I started planning for next weekend's workouts. 2hr bike/1hr run on Saturday, 1hr swim/1hr bike on Sunday is where I landed. Funny how this is so much less that I see all the hardcore triathletes doing on a regular midweek training day, yet in the endorphin rush of a good run it left me feeling pretty good about myself that I can plan something like this. Did some excellent recovery eating Sunday afternoon and evening. Wore my old man diabetic recovery socks all afternoon and generally enjoyed my "single" self. Monday I woke up feeling pretty damn good. I was totally incapacitated after my half marathon in December. Stiff, sore, tired, hobbling. This was quite a difference. Admittedly, this run was not in 30 degree weather, or run on miles of slippery snow/ice. But I gave it to myself - my training is coming together. I can do a training run at faster than my previous race pace. This is a good thing. I can workout the next day without undue stress. This too is a good thing. I will be ready for the Oly come July. My Monday workout
was good. Quite good. I was amazed at the freshness of my legs.  Tuesday and Wednesday things started catching up with me. See notes below. The fervor I mustered on my dissertation also had a little back slide. Thankfully James cheerleaded me through the darkest patch.

5/10 60minute spin (solo), 2500m swim
very nice solo spin in the morning (8:20am)
10min warmup (easy gears), 15min moderate gear
6 x [2min standing hill climb, 3min mod gear]  - with hills 2,4,6,8,10,12 gears of moderate
5min in "aero" dropping gears and increasing speed

5/11 60minute spin, 4mile run (BRICK)
Think the big week of workouts started to catch up with me. Regular gears felt very heavy during spin class. Posterior tibialis/achilles slightly grumpy during my run and pace was slower than past BRICKS - 8:50 pace instead of 8:30-8:35. Decided not to push it given my long run on Sunday.

5/12 2400m swim
This workout was kind of crappy. I had wanted to do 4000m but totally psyched myself out. By the time I got to the pool I just wanted to make sure I did something. First mile in 29:40, not so good. Last half mile, slower than I would like to admit. This was also my first time wearing a swim cap. It made my head hurt.

Yesterday I wanted to get in a quick short BRICK. I had a dissertation hangover in the morning but took myself to the gym. My ride, 40 minutes was okay. My legs were feeling better after the swim only Wednesday but when I started my run I could feel that my posterior tibialis was cranky. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday (Saturday) every other day. Post tib does not like every other day running. Post tib wants me to run every third day. This may have been pushing it. So I just did 3 miles. But felt grumpy afterward. Made a deal with myself that I'd come back later and ride some more. That was a good idea. Felt great on the second ride, 60 minutes. 

Today I am resting. Off days stress me out. But its a necessary evil. Or so they say.

Big plans for the weekend:
Over distance BRICK workout on Saturday - 2 hours ride followed by 1 hour run.
Sunday - Swim/bike brick. First of the season, have been riding before swimming up til this point. Legs tend to feel heavy after I swim want to start working on getting them moving in spite of that.

Wish me luck!

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