Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Great gym sesh, cruddy swim

Tuesday felt pretty good. Late in the afternoon, I hopped on the spin bike to warm up a bit before a bit of work on my rotator cuff and a lot of stretching.

I spun for 10 minutes and threw in 3x30" pickups--pretty intense, but not so much that I had to mash the pedals. After that, I grabbed some tubing and did a bunch of quick RC work on both shoulders, probably about 100-120 reps on each side. Then I did about 15 minutes of dynamic lower body stretching. Lunges focused on hip flexors and quads, side lunges focused on adductors and hamstrings, front walking hamstring stretch, dynamic calf stretch on an incline, etc.

At about 7, Christine came in and joined me for my last LE strength/hypertrophy session.
warmup: 1' pushing on treadmill, lunging, 2x10 bridges
6x8 (each) SL squat w/ 25#
6x10 leg raise
6x8 bar squat w/ 105#
3x10 GH abs
3x10 ab-bench punch-ups

That's the third and last time I'll do that workout for offseason strengthening. I felt pretty good about it; there was obvious improvement in that it felt much easier, I could do a lot more weight, and I haven't been very sore at all today. Next gym phase--power development.

Today (Wednesday) I swam in the afternoon. Gotta say...I've done better. I felt kinda crappy out there today--a little more out of breath than usual, and a little sloppier. I think I've got a little relaxin in my system right now, so that could be effecting things. Also, last night's strength session may be hitting me in ways that aren't too obvious to me. Anyway, instead of doing between 2500 and 3000m as I'd planned, I ended up limping along to only 2000m. 200m warmup, 200m drills, 3x500 with 1-2 minute rests, and 100m cool down. The upside? It's crazy cold out, which means the pool is deserted. It's all the same to me--the pool is heated to 80 degrees, so once I'm in it feels just fine!

Christine is supposed to come by again this evening at 6, for a spin session. Not sure what to focus on--if it should just be pure cadence at low effort, or if I should throw in a drill or two. I'll have to think on it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Begin Turkey Day De-tox

Sigh. I'm back.

The past 5 days have included roughly 34 hours or driving/riding in a car, so my back and hips are a bit tight.

This is to say nothing of all the crap I've eaten and the havoc it has wreaked on my digestive tract, blood sugar, energy levels, and overall sense of well-being.

Anyway, since my last post, I've trained twice. Well, maybe 1.5 times. Last Tuesday, I squeezed in two more of last week's workouts: another upper body hypertrophy session focusing more on closed-chain movement, and a 45 minute spin, focusing on single leg drills (3x3' on each side).

Then, on Friday, we hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls. Barely broke a sweat, but at least got my HR up.

That was it for the week.

Thanksgiving was good--could have gone more crazy, but didn't. Becki was gracious enough NOT to have chocolate and crap laying around in candy dishes this year. Still had the requisite staples, and of course, no trip to Portland is complete without a stop at Moonstruck, the best place to get hot chocolate ANYWHERE. I've got to plan my workouts for the week. It'll be hypertrophy. Upper? Lower? Whatever....we'll see.


Edit @ 930pm: I actually just ended up spinning for 40 minutes. Easy and fast. It was about right--I'm not sure I could have handled much more today. Fortified myself with a protein shake, and tonight I'll take some wellness formula before bed, just as insurance in case today's fatigue is the first glimmer of a cold or flu bug. Now...time for some homemade split-pea soup...mmmmm!

Monday, November 20, 2006

off-season week 2: thanksgiving

Kicking off week 2 of the off-season macrocycle...

Saturday night, after my long bike ride, I ended up going for a long walk down Blossom Hill Road...5 or 6 miles, maybe. That concrete is punishingly hard on the feet and hips!

Yesterday ended up being a rest day--unless you count 2 hours of wandering around the mall while I waited for new tires to be put on my car. Grrr.

That brings me to today...Monday. Mondays are hard enough as it is. First of all, I'm usually running late. This is mostly because I ignore my alarm clock on Monday mornings; my psyche can't quite grasp that I've got to get my ass back to work after 2 days to do my own thing. Second of all (and probably another reason I'm running late) is the fact that I'm usually tired at the end of the weekend, from running around getting too much done (as is often the case) or from running around having too much fun (seems to be less and less frequent).

Anyway, I digress. Today is a hard training day not only because it's Monday, but because it's Monday of a holiday week. 5 days of this week will be spent out of town...2 of those days almost entirely in the car. So, if I don't want my program to get too far off track, that means I have to fit in 3 or 4 key workouts in two days, before we leave on Wednesday morning.

Thankfully, I'm done with training for today. I repeated the LE hypertrophy workout that I did last Wednesday. My right hamstring feels like tight it's on the verge of cramping right now as I sit on my ass...but I made it through. The single-leg squats were the hardest. The rack squats were a bit better. I still felt it, but it wasn't as bad if I concentrated on abduction and keeping my abs tight. The weights felt lighter and I was able to move up to quarters, thankfully. Ugh...hate lookin' like a sissy. ;-) All told I was able to finish it, abs and all, in about 40 minutes. How's that for efficiency?

Then, a couple hours later, I went for a light swim, mostly working on form. I only went about 1000m, but I got a lot done. Gliding, pressing the T, Fingertip drag, and lots of rolling drills.

Tomorrow, my plan is to do last Monday's UE hypertrophy workout, and get a 45' spin in. Christine may join me for one of those workouts, which will be fun.

Now I'm wolfing down some food before I get back to work. 5 more clients today--that could get a bit draining.

Oh, yeah! I finally got my mp3 player to work today! It was awesome! Maybe that's why I finished the weight sets so fast...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

to morgan hill and back

I met up with Jeff and Irfan this morning for a little base training ride to Morgan Hill and back on Santa Teresa--not too fast, not many hills, just as steady as we could at a comfy, conversational pace.

I tried to keep my cadence up to 90+, but it's hard when you're on a group ride and none of the group is very experienced at riding with groups--or has superior bike handling skills. It was fun, though. We all enjoyed ourselves and agreed to try to meet up every Saturday for a ride until training starts up for Wildflower.

I think it was about 30 miles, give or take a mile or two. Gonna have to research some other routes around here; the pavement on Santa Teresa sucks!

Yesterday I managed a nice swim, went for 4x500 at L1-2, with 50m of breast stroke thrown in for recovery here and there. I spent a lot of time working on getting my head down a bit more, and gliding longer between strokes.

I'm feeling very confident and strong after this week. I'm glad I sat down and set up the next 12 weeks worth of training; just having a structured plan has given me a great boost in motivation. I'd like to start the season with more strength and power than last year--strength and power built specifically for biking and running up hills.

I would also love to start off a bit leaner. I know I'm not built much like a triathlete; to experience any measure of great success at this sport you pretty much have to be whippet thin AND have nothing to do but train. I don't fit the bill on either of those counts. I feel, however, that if I can optimize my training and my food intake, I'll be able to lose a few pounds of dead weight and move up the ranks a bit. Sigh...the offseason just HAS to include the holidays, doesn't it?

I didn't start triathlon off last January expecting to get so into it. Now, here I am--I've dropped more cash than I should have on a road bike, when I used to spit out "spandex" like it was a dirty word. I've designed the best training program that I've ever designed for myself so I can go longer and stronger. I haven't felt this much like an athlete in years...and I've never been able to do so much of it on my own--I've always needed an external force, like a coach, to help drive me in the past. Now I feel like I can find the drive within--at least, more than ever before. Don't get me wrong, I still like gettting coaching and the occasional team workout.

I'll admit, I dream of picking up some age-group hardware someday. It could happen, too-probably not at a big race like Wildflower or anything--but maybe somewhere else...

Friday, November 17, 2006

a good run

Wednesday's swim ended up being fairly short--only 1200m. It was all i could tolerate with the residual soreness in my lats and tris from monday's weight session! i guess i'd better get pretty religious about the protein shakes...

Anyway, i warmed up for about 200m and then spent the rest of the time alternating 100m of a drill with 100m of swimming with the drill's "muscle memory" fresh in my system. Stomach kicking, 6 kick switch, side swimming, thumb to thigh, and pressing the T. I realized that I need to get my head down a lot more if I want to glide better! Also, I need to experiment with different hand positions. Maybe I should ante up for a stroke analysis one of these is the time to do it, after all.

It's funny; after years of experience swimming in a pool as a somewhat accomplished swimmer, it's humbling to switch to long-distance, open water swimming and discover that it's an entirely different way of swimming. I've had to adjust my mindset considerably.

Oh, yeah, and mere moments after I enter the Alcatraz lottery, a huge story about some rogue sea lion biting people in Aquatic Park comes out! Eeeesh.

Anyway, yesterday all I could really fit in was a run. I timed myself for about 45 minutes, throwing in 4x20second pickups every 10 minutes or so. The run felt really good--I'd estimate that I covered about 4.5, maybe close to 5 miles. It's amazing how satisfying a run can be--and how relaxing. I need to figure out my damned mp3 player, though--the radio reception in and around Palo Alto is say nothing of the commercials!

Today, I'll try to fit in a longer swim...probably be there with Menlo Masters, but's Friday, it'll be less crowded.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

off-season week 1--midweek update

i don't usually post midweek, but i'll never remember what i did in my weight sessions this week if i don't!

Monday: UE hypertrophy
Superset 1:
Pull ups 6x10 (60-75% intensity)
Pushups 6x10 (BW)
1' rest interval
Superset 2:
Compound Row 6x10 (80#)
DB Press 6x10 (15x2)
1'rest interval
Superset 3:
Skullcrushers on ball 6x10 (1x20#DB)
Bicep feeders (20# BB)
1'rest interval

Tuesday: Spin
Meant to do 60-90 minutes. Felt crappy, cough coming on, so I only did 30 focusing on high cadence.

Wednesday: LE Hypertrophy & swim
3' jumping rope
3' pushing on treadmill
2 rounds BW lunging + 2x10 bridges
Set 1 (superset):
SL squat 6x8 (25#)
Leg raise 6x10
1' rest interval
Set 2:
Squat 6x8 (85#)
1' rest interval
Set 3 (superset):
Abs on GH raise 3x10
Leg punch-ups on incline bench 3x10
no rest interval

Grabbed a protein shake, and headed over to Burgess for about 1 hour of drils and form work.

Of note: I entered the lottery for Escape from Alcatraz this morning. I managed to talk Christine into entering it too. Swimming from Alcatraz to the pier? EEK! $300 for a triathlon! EEK again!

Monday, November 13, 2006

developing off-season plan

The past week has truly been a recovery week. I barely even did any stretching, let alone a workout...unless you count a 2 hour sesh at 26th with James--which didn't result in me surfing so much as me taking a few lumps and learning to read the waves in a tricky spot.

I headed to Cafe Borrone on Thursday, grabbed a cup of their delectable brew, and put some serious thought into the next 12 weeks. An hour later, Steph joined me and was more than happy to throw in her 2 cents at my request.

So, in the off-season, my main focus needs to be building a stronger base. Sustained running, biking, and swimming (and surfing and hiking) below lactate threshold to enhance peripheral capillarization and tissue integrity. That's easy--it just takes time.

The other focus, requiring more thought, is my strengthening program. 12 weeks allows enough time for 3 microcycles of 3 weeks up, 1 down.

Microcycle 1 (starting today): Strength and hypertrophy. Dullsville! But important. I'll include lots of rotator cuff strengthening so I can avoid any issues in the future.
Microcycle 2: Strength and power. Back to powerlifting followed by strength sets, ala Harry and Sean back in the day.
Microcycle 3: Speed and neuromuscular enhancement. Mostly Olympic Lifts and plyometrics with accessory work through complex movement patterns.

Also, can't forget a [near]daily serving of evil core work followed by a little high quality whey protein.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Treasure Island Race Report (LONG)

This is a couple days late for a race report, and I realized I'd better get on it before the details begin to fade from my memory.

Friday afternoon, Christine and Mark met me at my work and we grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading up to the island to pick up our race packets. After a little maneuvering through traffic and contruction heading onto the Bay bridge, we made it by about 2pm. We arrived in the midst of Tri California staff and volunteers setting up the bike course partitions, finishing chute, transition area, and announcer's stands.

We picked up the packets from Becky and verified our timing chips. I promptly strapped mine onto my ankle; it would be just like me to forget on race morning! Then we strolled around the Expo a bit, marvelling at how much smaller it was than the one at Wildflower. Still, there were a few goodies to drool over--custom made bikes, Italian cycling glasses, spendy Louis Garneau tri clothes...the standard fare.

What was the most fun was running into all kinds of people we knew. It's amazing how quickly you get dialed in to the tri community!

We left the island at about 430 to go and find our hotel near Union Square. It was a cute and quirky place with ceilings painted like the sky dotted with little seagulls. The manager upgraded our room to a suite when he found out we were in town for the race and had a couple of bikes with us! After a little while getting settled in, we headed over to the TNT hotel for the pasta party and accompanying pomp and circumstance.

Friday night I got almost no sleep at all. Between a raging headache that I doctored with a bit of Motrin and Christine too keyed up to sleep either, it was about 11 before I made an honest attempt at resting.

The alarm went off at 415 Saturday morning. Since I hadn't really slept anyway, I had a pretty easy time getting up. I put in my contacts, pulled on my tri shorts, tri top and singlet, and over that some cozy comfort clothes and a beanie. Ate some greek yogurt with honey and a pear-cranberry bar I'd brought with me. After about 30 minutes of jockeying gear out the door, down the street, and into Christine's car, not to mention trying to find cash to pay the valet at 515 am, we were ready to head over to T.I.

We made a quick pit stop for coffee and got onto the island by about 550. Stayed in the car waiting for the sun to come up a bit before heading to transition to set up our gear. My phone rang, and it was my dad calling from his ready-mix truck to wish me luck and a good race. :-)

As we walked into transition, the sun was up enough for us to see that Clipper Cove was shrouded in thick fog. The bridge was barely visible above the swim course! I'm sure it was cold, but I was too amped to notice.

My rack number was 699 and most of the TNT girls were in the 900's, so I was able to set up my T1 and T2 in relative peace and quiet. Made a quick pit stop at the port-a-potties--nerves were setting in and I had a major case of the bubble guts. Got bodymarked and checked my watch. 715. My wave wasn't going to go off until 930, so I grabbed my goggles, cap, and bodyglide, slung my wetsuit over my shoulder, and went off in search of Marla, Adam, and James.

I found them quickly, and hanging out with them made the time pass quickly and easily until it was time to pull on my wetsuit and wait for my wave to start. Around 845, I jogged back to transition to grab an Accel Gel--my hope was that it would kick in just in time to fuel a powerful swim start.

925 am. TNT women from all over California and Seattle are lined up at the swim stairs, waiting for the gate to open so we can jump in and splash around a bit before the start. We're all pretty pumped, dancing around and happy--we've worked hard and our day is here! The gate opens and we cautiously pick our way down the wide, carpeted stairs into the water. I immediately head for the staging area, diving under a couple of times to get used to the cold water and opening the neck of my wetsuit so I can get a layer inside to warm up a bit. The announcer whipped the crowd into a frenzied countdown, and then--the horn.

SWIM--I stayed ahead and to the left of everyone at the start. The start was rather spread out, and our wave only had 50 or 60 people, so there wasn't that "blender full of humans" feeling I'd had at the Wildflower start. I focused on rolling and gliding, and kept my breathing bilateral, every 3 strokes. My sighting was pretty good--I don't think I veered off course too much, thanks to the new contacts and the new Aqua Spheres! As I completed the first loop of the swim and rounded the buoy, I heard the sound I'd been dreading: the horn going off again! I had to blend in with the next wave as they churned away from the staging area in a furious mob. One dude swam over me and got a swift kick in the stomach (not on purpose) for his crappy sighting. I'm pretty sure I socked someone in the eye as I finished a pretty powerful stroke. I'm starting to sound like an actual triathlete here... Anyway, I felt bad, but I had to pour on the gas to pull away from all the thrashing nonsense! In a few minutes, it was all peace and quiet and the sound of the water rushing and my own breathing again. I finished loop 2 and cut away from the buoy toward the swim stairs--where three or four volunteers were waiting to pull me out of the water! I climbed the stairs, pulling off my cap and goggles, and pulled off the top half of my wetsuit as I ran to transition.

I passed Coach Chris on the way, and he said my swim had been pretty fast. James told me later I was 3rd TNT girl out of the water--pretty cool.

T1--I reached my bike and peeled off the wetsuit. First order of business was to grab another gel and wash it down with fresh water. Then into the bike gear. The socks were the hardest, and I think I'm going to try to toughen my feet up enough to ride without them in the next race. All in all, T1 was about 4.5 minutes compared to almost 6 at WF--so it was a bit better...I can't believe pros do it in less than 1 minute!

BIKE--I started the bike feeling very loose, strong, and ready for a good hard spin. The bike course on Treasure Island kinda sucks--I mean, there's no way to fit a 40k bike ride on T.I. without having to do lots of loops (6) and make a lot of 90 degree turns. It's largely flat, except for one mild hill with a U-turn at the top. I took the first loop pretty easy, since I'd heard the course was riddled with potholes and rough pavement. An understatement! About halfway through my first loop, I spotted the first wipeout. Some poor chick was laid out in the middle of the road, moaning and lolling her head back and forth. Sad day! I finished my first loop and then cranked it up. I kept the cadence up above 85-90 rpms and stayed in my biggest chainring up front, shifting the rear as needed to maintain pedal speed. There are 130 corners on the TI course. They suck because they slow you down, but they're also FUN! By the end of the bike leg, I was a demon (in my own mind) on the corners. I could keep it up around 18-19mph as I rounded them. I made a conscious effort to eat and drink on the bike (1 gel and 24 ounces of Accelerade on laps 2 and 4) to see if it would help my run go any better than the last time. As I finished lap 6 and rolled into the bike-in chute, I passed my personal cheerleading crew one more time and got a high five from Adam.

T2--I hopped off at the dismount line and ran my bike in with no problems running on the bike shoes. Racked my bike and pulled off my bike shoes and helmet. Bummer! My socks were still wet from after the swim! I sighed. A blister or two was going to be inevitable. I stepped into my shoes, laced them up, clipped on my race number, grabbed my hat and water bottle, and wolfed down one more gel before running out. All told, slightly more than 2 minutes in T2.

RUN--The run course at TI is a flat, fast out-and-back on asphalt. 2 5k loops. I wasn't sure how I would feel--I went out on the bike with the intent to hammer a lot more than usual, run be damned. The first loop started a bit ragged as per usual, but it didn't take long for my legs to find the groove. I tried to focus on step cadence but I was having a bit of trouble concentrating. Luckily, the strategy of eating more than felt comfortable on the bike seemed to be paying off; my legs felt strong and solid. On my second loop around, I passed Christine on her first loop--in tears and racked with leg cramps! I passed her an enduralyte and gave her some words of encouragement; eveidently they helped because the next time I saw her she was running again. :-) I caught up to Brittany (The only TNTer from our team ahead of me) and we ran in together. Run time ended up being a bit over 56 minutes. Grrr. I could have easily done better. Next year.

Overall time was 3:05:11
Age group rank: 37
Swim time: 31:40 (grrr)
Bike time: 1:29:29 :-)
Run time: 56:30? (grr)

Now, to finish designing my off-season strength training plan for a full-scale attack on that Wildflower course in May... :-)