Posted by: Tina | March 27, 2012

Week 12: Recovery relief

A recovery week, so mostly easy stuff. Skipped the Thursday run on account of the knee.

Monday, March 19 (#61): Coldest night yet at the UBC outdoor pool, but at least it’s now still light out when the session begins. We did some kick focus stuff, and then 4x100s alternating critical swim speed, kick, IM and pull. It’s always a shock (and a bit of an embarrassment) when the coach includes butterfly stroke in a set. I just learned butterfly last year, so my form is pretty ugly and mostly consists of floundering. Good for the abs though. Again, my CSS felt way too fast.

Tuesday, March 20 (#62): Easy cycling in my garage. I had to do 2 x 8 minutes alternating each minute between 90 and 100 rpm. I don’t have a cadence monitor on my bike so I downloaded a metronome app to my iPhone and, praise be, it seemed to work! It was a bit boring listening to the tick tock in my ear for 16 minutes but it worked. Before doing this again, I’m definitely going to have to find some songs that are the appropriate cadence.

Wednesday, March 21 (#63): Fast 50s at the pool, with a total of 1400m.

Thursday, March 22 (#64): 45 minutes on the stationary bike at work, all in Z1.

Saturday, March 24 (#65): Gorgeous long bike  ride on a sunny morning, with Darnelle from Eastside Fitness. We headed out to Richmond over the Canada Line Bridge, then out and back on River Road, and then out and back to Iona. There was a wicked headwind on the way out to Iona so it was hard work, but then it was a fast ride back with the wind at our backs.

Posted by: Tina | March 20, 2012

Week 11: The knee of great pain

My week started off great, and ended badly. My knee has been getting better, but my Sunday run seems to have hooped it again, even worse than before. I have real concerns about my triathlon season.

I’m not usually one to dwell on numbers, but I also hit 60 workouts since starting training in January. This seems pretty good to me.

Monday, March 12 (#55): I missed the Critical Swim Speed test when I skipped the workout the week before (hitting the pow!), so the coach made me and a few others make it up. The test was 400m as hard as could be sustained, followed by some easy laps, then another 200m as hard as cold be sustained. Plunk those times into a formula of some kind and, voila, you have your critical swim speed for 100m. Mine is apparently 1:43, though I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. It’s supposed to feel challenging, but not so challenging that you can’t sustain many repetitions at that pace, with only a brief rest in between (15s or less). I’m going to have to check with the coach since he’s the one who was recording times.

Tuesday, March 13 (#56): Double brick. The difference this week is that my six minutes on the bike were in Z4, higher than my usual Z3 for bricks. Followed by six-minute Z4 run, then five-minute walk. Not easy.

Wednesday, March 14 (#57): Swim in the morning, with a long warmup. Main set was 4x100m at critical swim speed, with a ten-second rest between each. Then a 400m time trial. My time was 7:20. This seemed fast to me, so I may have misread the time (I use the clocks on the wall, since I don’t have a waterproof watch). But it is also possible that I was this fast. In the late afternoon, I warmed up for a bit at the gym then did a bunch of stretches prescribed by my physio.

Thursday, March 15 (#58): At the gym on the bike doing intervals at lunch.

Friday, March 16 (#59): Got to the gym early to do hills on the treadmill. The main set was 3 x 3 minutes on a six per cent grade, at a hard fast tempo, with a six-minute recovery between each. The first one wasn’t too hard because I was trying to figure out what the right pace was for me to hold for the entire three minutes. Second one was too hard and I had to peel the pace back in the last minute. Third set was just right, i.e. hard but attainable.

Sunday, March 18 (#60): Took a Saturday rest day, but drank just a teensy bit too much both Friday and Saturday nights so long-run Sunday was rough. But I did 70 minutes in Z1, taking a little tour of the city from the east side to the west side. My knee felt great, but then went into mortal shock immediately upon my return home and is now paining me greatly.

Posted by: Tina | March 13, 2012

Week 10: A cold. And my birthday.

Well, now, this is getting boring, isn’t it? I am so far behind that the struggle to catch up is stripping these posts of what little personality they had to begin with. Nonetheless, I shall forge on. Thoughts I do want to catch up on include the nagging knee problem, how hard “tough” workouts should really feel, why having had an infant in your life makes you ripe for athletic training, and figuring out how to race “on the button” in the swim and bike legs of a triathlon.

Tuesday, March 6 (#51): We got home from our ski trip in the early afternoon on a beautiful sunny day, so I took my long (1:05) run outside. It was lovely, but hard to keep the pace down when I noticed another guy running behind me with his dog. The competitive part of me didn’t want him to pass, so my pace – and heart rate – picked up. I could hear him huffing so I suspect he was really trying to catch me. Luckily after about five minutes, I turned one way and he went another. Two lessons here: 1) if you are running behind me, I am probably aware of it and think we are racing, and 2) don’t let yourself get caught in this trap because slow runs are supposed to be slow, and going too fast can compromise the training plan!

Wednesday, March 7: My 36th birthday! But I had a cold so I skipped my scheduled swim. It was a mild cold so it was more like an excuse because I didn’t want to get out of my warm bed at 6am.

Thursday, March 8 (#52): 50 minutes on the bike at the gym, doing the usual intervals of Z3 and Z1. Still had a cold, but an indoor bike ride is an easy thing to do.

Friday, March 9 (#53): Hill workout on the treadmill. 50 minutes total, with six one-minute hard fast runs up a 4% grade hill (it was supposed to be steeper but I pulled exertion back because of the cold).

Saturday, March 19 (#54): Friday night, I was pleased with myself because I changed my worn-out road bike tire all by myself, which John at Pacific Multisport said would be a challenge. I half wanted it to rain on Saturday morning because I didn’t really feel like going for a “real ride” on the road, but wanted to instead sit on the trainer with a good book and/or Netflix. It wasn’t raining, so I got up early and was on the road by 730 am for a 2.5 hour ride out to Richmond, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my first time using the Canada Line sky bridge bike path, which is awesome and the single most pleasant way of biking over the Fraser – good-bye Arthur Laing! Also, it takes me just 20 minutes to get into Richmond where it’s basically stop-free and low-traffic riding. I should go out there more often, but I’m always scared I’ll get lost. After the ride, I got a pedicure and had a lazy movie-watching Saturday with a girlfriend.

Sunday morning, I woke up with the cold almost completely gone. Hooray!

Posted by: Tina | March 11, 2012

Week 9: Working toward a ski trip break

Monday, February 27 (#46): It was a very cold swim workout with the usual bunch in the Pacific Spirit Triathlon Club. The air temperature was close to zero degrees and every swoop of my wet arm through the air was chilling.

Tuesday, February 28 (#47): Triple brick workout. The main set was the following cycle three times: seven minutes in Z3 on the bike, six-minute Z4 run, then four minutes easy walking. In my Training Peaks comments, I wrote, “Agggh!”

Wednesday, February 29 (#48): Swim test. Unfortunately, I had to do this with the pull buoy because my knee is still bothering me. My results were 1:30 for 100m, and 29:20 for 1500m (half with pull buoy). This isn’t too bad, and fairly close to my race results.

Thursday, March 1 (#49): About an hour on the bike, alternating Z3 intervals with Z1. Still reading Roger Ebert’s Life Itself.

Friday, March 2 (#50): This was supposed to be a track workout but my knee has been bothering me and my coach suggested I swap out some of my run workouts with the bike. I also got caught up with work, so I only managed 40 minutes on the bike.

The rest of my weekend was given over to a SKI TRIP! So no long runs/bikes for me for four days. This was really nice because I was starting to feel like I needed a bit of a break from six-days-a-week workouts. I’m pretty sure my legs got a workout anyway since they were screaming at me after just half a day on the slopes.

Posted by: Tina | March 8, 2012

Week 8: The stomach bug

This was a tough week during which I was plagued with some kind of mild stomach bug, probably acquired through my daughter who suffered from the same.

Monday, February 20 (#41): Let’s call this one all pullbuoy, all the time. It helped immobilize my sore knee.

Tuesday, February 21 (#42): Easy brick: 45 minutes on the bike, followed by a 15-minute run, all in Z1.

Wednesday, February 22 (#43): Skipped my swim because I was exhausted, cut down by a stomach bug the night before. Felt better by lunch hour so managed a 25-minute easy treadmill run.

Thursday, February 23 (#44): Late in the evening, 45 minute intervals on the bike. Felt pretty gross.

Guess what? I took two rest days this week – Friday and Saturday!

Sunday, February 26 (#45): I was supposed to do a long 2+ hour bike ride, but I just noticed that my rear tire has been completely worn out from all the hours spent on the trainer. I didn’t have the time to get a replacement tire, so I did an hour long slow run instead.

P.S. This was obviously posted way late. I’m working to catch up but, fear not, I am still training.

Posted by: Tina | February 20, 2012

Week 7: Ends with a sore knee

I made it through eight workouts straight last week, leading up to a most lovely Saturday rest. I ended the week with a sore left knee, which is the one that derailed my triathlon aspirations more than a decade ago. I am worried.

Sunday, February 12 (#34): This was a long and boring ride, no doubt about it. Why? Because I spent two hours in Z1 on my bike trainer in the garage. I read a Maclean’s, finished the second season of Californication, and started the heinous – yet enjoyable – Morning Glory. When else would I watch such schlock, if not for Netflix and long boring indoor rides?

Monday, February 13 (#35): Monday night swim in the UBC pool. Clear night, pushed hard.

Tuesday, February 14 (#36): Thoroughly unpleasant triple brick. But it was good. I did it at the gym on the spin bike and treadmill. 3 x (6m Z3 on the bike, 6m Z4 run). I never would have expected Z3 to feel like a rest, but with my heart rate on the run hovering between 175 and 180, a heart rate of 160 felt like breathing space.

Wednesday, February 15 (#37): 2250m swim in the morning. I was tired and did not want to be there, so I got through this by telling myself I would leave after the next lap, for EVERY LAP. And then, there I was, finished!

Thursday, February 16 (#38): 1 hour in Z1 on the bike trainer in the garage.

Friday, February 17 (#39): Hill intervals on the treadmill, which really sucked. Hills should really not be done on the treadmill because it takes so long to get to the right incline. I would have done it outside but it started downpouring in the afternoon and I didn’t have the right gear.

Sunday, February 19 (#40): I was supposed to do a long run but, due to my sore knee, I did an hour on the bike trainer instead. Nothing special to report.

Posted by: Tina | February 15, 2012

Disordered eating is easy. But unneccessary.

I read this article – Running on Empty – in Runner’s World this month, and it made me think about the fine lines between “normal” eating, disordered eating, and full-blown eating disorders.

I have never had a problem with my weight. I used to struggle with it, but only in a stupid, misguided and angsty way. Which is to say I have never had a real problem with weight, only struggled with the perception that I needed to lose weight. This has, at various points in my life, led me down the path of borderline obsessive-compulsive behaviour and, according to the article, disordered eating. For example:

  1. Swearing off all sweets/dessert for a month. Result: Eating jam out of a jar by the spoonful.
  2. Hard-core long cardio workouts 6-8 times a week. Result: Guilt over missed workouts and concern over the sudden appearance of non-existent fat bulges. (I should add that all this cardio was good for building my athletic base. Psychologically, though, it was the pits. And, let’s face it, classic fitness “plateau”.)
  3. Tracking every single item of food or drink that crossed my lips, counting the calories, and trying to keep the numbers low. Result: Self-hatred at lack of willpower and concern over aforementioned non-existent fat bulges.

Two pregnancies and at least a decade later, I realize how misguided all of it was. What a waste of energy, when I should have been celebrating how incredible my body was in my teens and twenties. (See mummy tummy post for more on this.)

I would be lying if I claimed to never think or worry about my weight or, more precisely, the shape of my body. But I think about it much less than I did back before I had kids. There are two reasons for this:

  1. I had kids and I’m getting older. That precise pre-baby body ain’t coming back without a bit of cosmetic surgery. Let it go.
  2. I train with achievement – not weight – goals in mind.

The irony is that training has made me fitter, faster, stronger, and – inevitably – lighter. I weigh slightly less now than I did in high school. But I would have a real problem if I continued to lose weight because it would mean I’m not eating enough, or the right things, to achieve the athletic goals I set for myself. I don’t think in terms of grams of fat or calories. I think about what I eat in the context of what’s healthy and not going to make me bonk in my next workout. Deprivation is counter-productive – I can’t be bothered with it anymore.

Posted by: Tina | February 11, 2012

Week 6: Just one of those weeks

Saturday, February 4 (#28): 1:45 ride to Whytecliff Park and Horseshoe Bay on a lovely sunny day. My family met me at the other end and we ferried over to Bowen Island for a birthday party. The total time includes all the stops and coasting as I wound my way through the city to the Lion’s Gate Bridge. As I stopped at what felt like every traffic light in downtown Vancouver, I felt envy for the friend of mine who lives in Kelowna who claims he can go for 3-hour rides and stop just once or twice at traffic lights.

Monday, February 6 (#29): Swimming with the tri club is making me push harder than when I swim on my own. We did “best 200s” and I was clearly over ambitious, because I couldn’t hold the pace on the second set. Fun challenge though!

Tuesday, February 7 (#30): Double brick on a cold frosty morning. The main set was two rounds of six minutes of Z3 on the bike, followed by six minutes of running in Z4. It was dark when I started, and light when I finished.

Wednesday, February 8 (#31): Went for a swim at a nearby pool at lunch. I had to rush and it still took more time than I wanted, but it’s nice to have this option. The pool was nearly empty and I shared a double-wide line with only one other person for much of the time (only a 25m pool though). The workout was mostly scull drills and kicking with fins. 1950 metres total.

Friday, February 10 (#32): The usual morning spin on the bike in the garage, with longer length Z3 intervals.

Saturday, February 11 (#33): Yes, Saturday is supposed to be a rest day, but I got caught at work on Thursday and couldn’t get in my run that day. I asked my coach if I should just take an extra day off (wishful thinking) and she told me no, since speed work is important right now. Which means I went to the weird circular Memorial Park track on Saturday afternoon for 400m repeats, averaging about 1:30 for each. My abs were sore after, which is weird.

With my rest day shifted forward two days, I am now basically going to have eight days straight without a rest, so I suspect Im going to be tired this week, or a skipped workout is inevitable.

Posted by: Tina | February 3, 2012

Week 5: Shift to bike focus

My training seems to be shifting to a bike focus, which is the plan this year.  The bike portion of the triathlon is clearly my weakest point. I need to get the aerobars set up on my bike pretty soon, although I am a bit nervous about actually using them.

I am a little concerned that my run mileage is going down, so I’ll talk to my coach about it this week. I wonder if I can add a run on the days that I’m swimming. I don’t want to just add on “junk” mileage, so I’ll see what she says.

Sunday, January 29 (#22): 1hr 30 minutes, Z1, on the bike trainer in the garage. Hooray for Netflix, or I don’t think I would be able to get through that much time on the trainer. Even with something to watch, I was checking my watch often by the third episode of Californication. Still, there is something to be said for using the trainer. No coasting, no stops, just steady Z1 pace. My legs were even a bit sore by Monday morning.

Monday, January 30 (#23): Back to UBC Aquatic Centre for the weekly club swim. My swim speed seems to have picked up, and I’ll be moving over a lane next week. Some other general observations.

Tuesday, January 31 (#24): First brick workout of the year. I snuck to the gym after work to do 45 minutes Z1 on the bike, followed by a fast transition to 10 minutes Z1 running on the treadmill. Worked up a pretty good sweat. I needed this after a massive lunch of noodles at Lao Shan Dong Noodle House.

Wednesday, February 1 (#25): Kick focus. Warm-up, kicking, then 6x200m with 50m easy kicking in between. Total 2100m. My swim workouts are getting longer, so I need to start getting up earlier to get in a full hour-long workout. Daily swim observation: an older gentleman in the medium-speed lane was swimming with ski goggles. Cross my heart.

Thursday, February 2 (#26): 30s hard fast runs up a moderate hill, with a warm-up and cooldown run, completed at lunch on a relatively nice day. It was my first time out this year without a jacket layer, since it was warm (9 degrees).

Friday, February 3 (#27): Alternating intervals of Z3 and Z1 on the bike trainer in the garage in the early morning.

Glad it’s the weekend tomorrow!

Posted by: Tina | January 31, 2012

Man stew: random observations at swim practice

Observations from last night’s swim:

  • UBC Aquatic Centre washes all clothing items left behind in its change rooms. I retrieved from the lost and found the swimsuit I left hanging on the shower stall last week, and it is spic and span! Next time I’ll “forget” a load of laundry.
  • Some juvenile has scraped a large outline of a penis on the black line at the bottom of my swim lane. I noticed it last week, thought it was temporary, but there it was again this week.
  • I need to up the potassium intake – read, bananas – because I got a wicked cramp when taking off on the 25m sprints with fins. I had to flounder my way to the end of the lane.
  • I regularly underestimate my speed at swimming. I have to move up a lane next week.
  • The hot tub at the aquatic centre is total man stew. I do not think I will ever again submerse myself up to my neck in that cesspool (and I’m not the squeamish type).

And, finally…

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I rarely regret the workouts I complete, but often regret the ones I miss. I’m glad I went.

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