Monday, March 30, 2009

The (long) weekend

I took Friday off from work, for no other reason than I just didn't want to be there for a fifth straight day, and had a great weekend. Friday I swam (the gym opened it's 25-yeard outdoor pool early, and the 25-yard indoor pool is also fixed and ready for action) and did some "stength" stuff - and let me just say that IM training does nothing if not break you down into a weak, sad little shell of yourself. I have the physical strength of a 12-year old right now.

Saturday Cath and I ran for an hour along the lake path, which was lovely. A bit windy, but it was so nice to be outside. And then the snowstorm came in. Yes, I said the snowstorm. Hmphf. So, Sunday's two-hour outdoor ride turned into Sunday's two-hour indoor trainer session. I had forgotten how crappy it is to be stuck on the trainer for two hours. I got settled on a routine of 10-minutes easy, followed by 10-minutes hard, repeat, until it was over. Not much more to say about that, except to say that I hope winter is now officially over.

Oh, we got out compression stuff in the mail last week - Cath's pair, of course, fit perfectly, and she loves them so far. Could be a little tighter in places, but the overall quality appears to be very high and, hopefully, she'll see some long-term recovery benefits. Sadly, I had to send my own pair back because the fit just wasn't quite right. Instead, we went to our local running place and I picked up a pair of the 2XUs, which fit me much better. I wore them for most of the day after my ride yesterday, and they felt good. Not as sqeeze-ey as the Zoots were, but moreso than just regular running tights, so I'm hoping the benefits they claim are still there. We'll see. If anyone is considering a pair, I'd try the Zoots first - they just seem a lot more advanced than the 2XUs (or the Skins, another brand I was considering).

Anywho, we're now at week 7. Today's my rest day, but - as usual - I'm considering doing tomorrow's swim today so as to avoid the much-dreaded double on Tuesday. And, as usual, it's likely that I'll just take today off. But, who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So, we did our part to stimulate the economy by ordering a couple pairs of these guys last night. They're Zoot recovery tights, and from the limited amount of internet "research" I did, they seem to get high marks for doing all the right squeezes to promote ample recovery (must be the nifty stirrups!). We'll see. I'm excited to try them out.

Sixty-minute run this a.m., with just a touch of high hamstring pain (last year's nemesis). I'm a little scared that this condition is again lurking in the background, but am hopeful that consistent stretching and ice packs will keep it at bay. I would be totally crushed if I had to pull out of another IM, so I'm not even allowing myself to consider such a thing. Mind over hamstring.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cold bath, part 2

Well, thanks to the very good advice of more-established ice bathers (thanks, Kristin - wearing socks was key), my second foray into cold water recovery was a great success. While, it's still no picnic sitting in a pool of frigid water, it was much more tolerable this time and the positive effects were (again) huge. My Sunday ride following Saturday's hour run - two hours along the lakefront path with Cath and Drew - felt great. I'm a true believer. I just wish sitting in a bubbly hot tub worked as well.

The weeks are quickly rolling by, and our volume is steadily increasing - it's week 6, and we're at 9 hours, the highest so far. So far, I've been pretty good at following the plan. I skipped Friday's 45-minute run in favor of a strength session (I'm a little leery of taxing lasy year's gimpy hamstring too early), and I'm probably swimming at about half the volume that the plan has prescribed. I'm not too worried about the swims, though, just because I know from past experience that it's probably the least important leg of the race, time-wise, and it's probably best to not over-tax this year's gimpy shoulder too early. I figure that, once the lake warms up, we'll be out there plenty.

Monday is a rest day, but tomorrow we're looking at a swim session in the a.m. and an hour run after work. I'm debating doing the swim tonight after work, as the pool at home is back online, but I may just wallow comfortably in my rest day. We'll see how the day unfolds.

Hope y'uns had a great weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009


The week that was

Whew, I've had a crazy week at work - nothing particularly time-consuming or difficult, but just a series of minor pains-in-the-ass that kept piling up. There's something about living in a big city during the winter that just brings out the worst in people. Bad energy everywhere. Anywho, let's just say that I'm regretting our decision to be frugal this year and cut out the winter/spring getaway. My humble advice to y'uns: Never - I repeat - NEVER cut out the winter/spring getaway when you live in a city with a population greater than one million. Summer never comes fast enough, and the combonation of big-city attitude and cold weather can be maddening. Okay, mini-rant over.

Anywho, the training has been going well this week:

- Monday was a rest day, but Tuesday was a swim in the morning and run in the evening with my beautiful and talented wife. The weather was fantastic (except for the wind) - one of those days where you can just smell summer coming, and it feels weird not to be wearing fleece tights outside.

- Wednesday Cath and I took a 45-minute spin class together and followed it with 15 minutes of running on the track. The class was actually pretty hard, but I was able to run straight 8:00 min/miles pretty easily. My pace has been pretty pedestrian since my hamstring problems last year, so it was nice to see that my old legs have a little bit of kick left in them.

- Thursday I just did an easy 45-minutes on the trainer and stretched a bit.

- Today I did some strength training before work, and we're hitting the college pool for a "real" swim workout this evening.

We're tentatively planning on going out to the suburbs on Sunday for a ride, weather permitting. We trained out there quite a bit in 2006, and the rolling hills did wonders for developing ride fitness. Fingers crossed that winter is really on its way out...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ice baths

So, again, another embarrassing admission - in all my years of running and multi-sport craziness, I have never in my life taken a post-workout/race ice bath. Or extreme cold water bath for that matter. Along with the compression - and thank you ladies for the comments on compression; more on that later - I decided that I should start incorporating cold water baths into the recovery program after my long runs (I'm holding off on the actual ice part, at least for now).

Sunday called for a 60-minute run, which I did with my buddy Drew, and I came home, took a hot shower, and filled the tub up with some crazy cold water. Not to traditional bath levels, but just enough to cover my thighs. And then lowered myself in.


Are you kidding me? Yikes, that was cold. Not just cold, cold, but "Oh, my God I think I'm going to have a heart attack" cold. My feet were instantly aching, and I think my - umm - reproductive parts somehow leapt inside my stomach. I asked Cath - who has done cold water baths for years - how long this agony was supposed to last, and she insisted I needed 10 minutes of cold soaking.

Well, after a couple of brief respites from the frigid water, everything went numb, and I was able to clear the 10-minute mark. I couldn't feel my legs for about a half-hour afterward, but I think the soak did me good. Cath, of course, informed me that I had "done it all wrong" - it's apparently easier if you start with a very hot bath first, then drain the tub, and re-fill with the cold water while you're still in there - but I will definitely keep this routine in the training/recovery plan. My legs absolutely feel less fatigued and looser today than after a normal training weekend. I'm just not looking forward to all that cold water on my bare self.

As for the compression clothes, we're still working on that - the place we wanted to order from was out of Cath's size, and I somehow manage to straddle three different sizes (thanks to my crazy skinny calves and thighs). I'm thinking that this might be an item that you really need to try on first, so we'll probably go in to the ol' brick-and-mortar this weekend and get set up.

Anywho, hope your weekends were filled with good training sessions, a glass of wine (or three), and warmer temps.


Thursday, March 12, 2009


SO, I can't decide whether we're being cutting edge or completely gullible, but Cath and I are probably going to throw down for some compression clothes. For those of you who may not be familiar, compression clothing is relatively new to triathlon, but is taking off quick - various clothing manufacturers now have tops and bottoms that are designed to be worn either while you workout or to put on afterward and which are said to increase blood flow, flush the lactic acid from worked muscles, and generally make it easier to recover for your next training session. They basically look like regular running tights, shirts, and old school tube socks.

The jury is, I believe, still out on whether these articles of clothing really do everything claimed, but, given the demanding nature of IM training, we're inclined to give it a shot. We're looking at the Zoot line, which I've heard is the best out there right now. Be assured that a product review will be forthcoming.

As for today, I'm on the hook for a 45-minute ride after work. The swim, which is also scheduled for today, is getting pushed until tomorrow.

Cheers all - hope you're having a good week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The shoulder

Beth, I've had a wonky left shoulder for a few years now, but it only seems to act up when I start swimming in greater volume. I swam this morning for 30 minutes, and it felt *pretty* good, but not great. I'm thinking of taking another few days off from the pool, and then give it another go. But what's training without some aches and pains, right?

I've still got to do a 30-minute run tonight, but that actually sounds pretty nice - I could use the fresh air.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The week that was

Had a nice remainder of the week, training-wise. Apart from swimming, which I decided to scrap entirely due to the sore shoulder and lack of a pool (our pool at home is still closed, as is the main one at our gym, and there was no scheduled Masters session at the local college pool), I got in all of my scheduled workout for the week. (So, as I joked to Cath this morning, we're totally ready for the Iron-duathlon!).

Anywho, as a brief recap, Saturday was a 110-minute ride and Sunday was an hour run. The run had to be done on the treadmill (!) because it was pouring rain all morning. Today I'm going to try to get in a swim at lunch, but work may not allow for it. If not, I'll use today as my rest day for the week, and do a double (swim/run) tomorrow. It's the fourth week of our 30-week training plan, which means we step back an hour of training (i.e., seven hours versus the eight we did/were supposed to do last week), so that should make things a touch easier to fir into the schedule.

More soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I'm actually thinking of taking the day off from working out entirely (!). I brought swim stuff to work, but I'm worried about my shoulder (I think I slept on it funny, and it was super sore this morning), and am thinking a swim would be dumb right now. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my lunch hour...the day's a lot longer when you're not trying to squeeze in a workout.

The rest of the week should look like this:

- Thursday: 45-minute ride, 2000-yard swim;
- Friday: 60-minute run (Zone 2);
- Saturday: 1 hr. 45-minute ride (Zone 2);
- Sunday: 60-minute run (Zone 2).

I'd still be down one swim for the week, but I can live with that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Week 3

Well, we got all of of workouts in last week, but things are picking up a bit in week 3. The recap:

- Monday - 30 minute run;
- Tuesday - 30-minute swim (should have been longer, but the crowds got to me and I cut it short);
- Wednesday - 30-minute bike at 100+ rpm, followed by a 15-minute run;
- Thursday - 30-minute bike at 100+ rpm, follwed by 20-minutes of core strength exercises;
- Friday - 45-minute run in the morning, and a 2400-yard swim in the evening;
- Saturday - 90-minute ride;
- Sunday - 65-minute run.

Again, not very Ironman-ey quite yet, but consistent.

Monday I did a 30-minute bike, followed by a 15-minute run, and this morning I did a 45-minute run. I'm also supposed to swim today, but my shoulder is still giving me some problems, so I may bail on that and try to fit it in later in the week (or just bail altogether).