Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Workouts

I suspect that this is what most of my weekends between now and May 21st will look like.  It kicked my ass, but surprisingly, I'm not sore today.  Weird.

Saturday AM: 4,000 yard (1.5 hr) masters swim practice.  This practice was not the "pro" version and was much more managable.  Practice was only supposed to be 1 hr long, but after telling the coach that I needed to get in 4,000 yards, she wrote up extra sets and stuck around for a while longer.  Nice!  She was also very complimentary on my pacing, smooth stroke, and flip turns.  I may be a "slow" swimmer, but my technique is great!

Saturday PM: 4 hr bike ride (56 miles).  I did the "Denver Triangle" route, which I figured was about the right ditstance for the time.  I started at South Platte Park (green dot on the linked map) and headed east on the C-470 trail, to get the hills done with early.  1.5 hours of hills.  I will admit at about 1.25 hours, after I got east of I-25, the landscape turned to hilly plains (aka nothing) with WIND and I was not a very happy camper.  Once I turned north, the wind played nice and the hills went away and I could settle into a pace and cruise.  Since I rode these trails earlier in the week, my confidence was better and I could get a higher mph and stay aero longer.  At about hour 3, my shoulders and saddle were a bit sore, so I did the game where you play "stay in aero for 15 min and then you can stretch".  Considering this is the longest ride I've done since my century last July, I think I did pretty good.  After the ride, I treated myself to a whole milk latte and cupcakes.  mmmmm.

Sunday AM: 2 hr run with 18x3 min fartleks with 1 min easy jog/walk btwn each one.  Yes, 18 of them.  This was not super fun but I survived.  I will admit that I was finding excuses to walk after the firsrt 5 intervals.  Its hard to use your inhaler and jog, you know?  So yeah, not a stellar run, but it was banked.

Then I went home, showered, ate, and took a nap because....

Sunday PM: 40 min run.  Coaches notes were literally "your furst mile will suck but stick with it".  Honestly, this wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  The hardest part was getting up off the couch, but when I was out, it wasn't so bad.  Probably because I knew it was ONLY 40 minutes.  I did a sort of out and back by the house and chose a way with a not so steep uphill for the out, so I'd have a mostly downhill cruise for the back.  My neighborhood is hilly..... makes training interesting.

Then off to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and vegged on the couch.  And had another cupcake. 

Also spent some time with my Stick massage thingy.  I swear, a good 15 minutes rolling my legs out and I'm good to go.  My legs are BARELY sore this morning... craziness!

Also, cold tap water is COLD here.  I did an ice bath on Saturday after my ride.  I only turned on the cold water and stepped in when it was ankle deep.  OMFG it was COLD.  Painful pins and needles cold.  I tried to get in a few more times, each time lasting maybe 10 seconds before saying "I just can't DO THIS".  And then I turned on the hot water for about a minute.  Much better.  Still cold, but not Polar Bear Swim cold.  Guess I don't need to be stocking up on ice anytime soon for my ice baths.

January 2011 Totals

December was kind of a wash... I did awesome in my half marathon, and then I got sick, and then I moved to Denver.  Numbers were so sad, I didn't even do a status post for December.  This month I've been back in the swing of things, even with traveling to Houston for 2 weeks for field work.  I think my numbers are pretty decent, considering December was pathetic.

Bike: 18h 20m - 142.74 Mi (8 hours were on an indoor bike)
Run: 11h 54m 14s - 59.14 Mi
Swim: 9h 32m - 25550 Yd
Core Training: 35m

No goals were developed for January, so here's what I had for December...

  • RunGirl Half Marathon finish time of 2:25 (11:00/mile pace). I did the Houston Half Marathon in 2:31 and I'm a faster runner now, so theoretically, I should be able to meet this goal. The RunGirl course has some (small) hills, though, which could affect me. We shall see..... Ran this race in 2:20:42.  I CRUSHED my goal time - it was awesome.  And then I got bronchitis.  This may or may not be related to running this race (air temp was 40 degrees) in tri shorts and a tank top....
  • We had a preliminary offer on our house yesterday, which is great, but it makes the month of December really, really crazy. The proposed close date is Dec 29th - we've asked for the option to lease it through Dec 31st so we have a few extra days. This means I have to get quotes for movers, pack, figure out logistics, survive the selling process, and move to Denver. To say I'm a little overwhelmed right now is an understatement. It wasn't pretty, but we survived the move.  I'm still missing a few items (steaming pitcher for my espresso maker and the clip-on handles for my pots/pans). 
  • Find a run group in Denver for my long runs. Research swimming groups so I know what my options are, depending on where we end up living in January. I found a women-only distance running group that's very affordable.  Just need to start running with them.  There's another larger group, but I believe they think too highly of themselves.... Drop in cost is $20 (!!!) and they ask that you do not run more than 12 miles when you drop in.  Also, they don't provide paper cups (to be eco friendly) so you have to buy your own collapsable cup thingy.  Spring season with them is also ridiculous, something like $230.  So, we'll try the smaller women-only group and see how that works.  Funny part is that their track workouts are at my high school.... I don't believe I've ever stepped foot on that track, so this should be amusing.  For swim team, I'll probably join the Highlands Ranch Masters team.  Swam with them last Friday and they kicked my ass (I was the slowest one in the pool, very hard on my ego).  But they have AM practices M-Sat, so at least the schedule works for me.
  • Keep up with the training, even with the moving craziness. Done.
Ok, February Goals...
  • Survive training.  I suspect that Feb will be a build month.  Lots of cycling.  On hills.  At altitude.  My goal is to keep a positive attitude and keep working at getting better.
  • Figure out how to train in cold weather, even if that means treadmill.  Or figure out what to wear when its cold and I run outside.  Or figure out how cold is "too cold to run".

Friday, January 28, 2011

Getting my ass kicked

Whoa man, hills and altitude are killer......

Tuesday was a brick, consisting of a 90 min ride and a 30 min run.  I wanted to do more exploring on my bike, so while I parked at the same starting spot, I went on the C-470 West trail.  As in west towards the mountains.  And duh, you end up with elevation increases as you get closer to the mountains, especially when you start in a river basin.  These hills really weren't all that big, but crap, they killed me.  I want to say it was windy too, but that may be me trying to be optimistic.  There are also some tunnels where the bike path goes under a busy street (to avoid having to cross the street).  Well, in one tunnel, I discovered ice stalactites and stalactmites.  Problem was that tunnels are dark and I had my sunglasses on.  I missed the first pile of ice (just barely) and took off my glasses just in time to see a big pile of stalactmites blocking the whole tunnel.  Eeps!  I unclipped one foot and limped over the ice, and was on my way.  Still, ice + bikes = bad stuff!  I went as far as I felt like going and turned around to discover I had a really nice mostly downhill ride back to my truck.  I didn't think the hills were that steep, but I did hit 31 mph without even trying.  It was also COLD going downhill, and I was very glad that I chose to wear my brand new lightweight full-finger cycling gloves. Total elevation profile from my garmin was 400 ft, a pretty steady climb to my turn around point. After the bike I had a 30 min run, which went actually pretty well, even with the hilly bike ride.  It helped that the run path was flat :)

Wednesday was a swim workout (on my own) then a 60 min run with hill repeats.  There's a large network of gravel and paved trails where we live, and its a bit intimidating, with the hills and not knowing the area.  I won't figure out the trail system if I don't actually use it, so I decided  to do this run on a gravel trail by the house (which has a huge hill).  The 12 x 40 sec hill repeats were killer.  My coach even said that every 3rd one should be so hard that I will be cursing her (if I had the breath).  The altitude and dry air are doing a number on my asthma.... I think I took a hit on my inhaler every 3rd repeat.... 

View of run trail from the street:

Thursday was a simple 90 min ride.  I once again started at South Platte Park and decided to head on the C-470 East trail.  Again, I'm climbing out of a river basin and up hills.  I don't think these were as steep as Tuesday's ride, but I can't be sure.  The elevation profile had a similar elevation change (400 ft), so chances are, they were about the same.  This path is part of the "Denver Triangle" that I plan on riding Saturday for my 4 hr ride.  Path was ok, but there aren't many tunnels so you have to cross streets at major intersections.  Boo.  At least I'll get practice clipping in and clipping out.  Especially when the trail goes down to the street, so you have to stop, unclip, then re-clip and climb up on the other side.  Lame.  View going out (east) was blah, but coming back was gorgeous.  It also helps that it was 50 degrees and sunny.

Mt Evans

This morning was my first Masters swim team workout.  I was a bit scared, because the description for the M-W-F group was that they're the fast group and you have to be able to swim 3500 yards in 90 min (easy) and hold 8 x 100 free on a 1:40 interval.  I could do that interval, but I would only have ~5 sec rest, so it would really suck.  But I figured that this is masters, and really, how hard could it be?  There's also at Tu-Th group, but its called "Triathletes Swimming", and with my swim snobbery, I really didn't want to be with the triathlete group.  I'm a swimmer first, then a triathlete. 

So, I went in this morning, hoping I'd hang and keep up with the group. Boy, was I wrong.  Turns out the M-W-F group is former collegiate Division 1 swimmers.  I was THE slowest person in the 8 lane pool, and I am not exaggerating.  My poor ego.  Warm-up was a 1,000 yard choice.  That should have been the first clue that I was going to get my ass kicked.  Then it was 4x100, 4x75, 4x50, 4x25 (free).  Then 4x100 IM, 4x75 back, 4x50 breast, 4x25 free.  THEN (yes, there was more), I had to do 6x75 kick with fins.  I looked at my watch and holy crap, it was only 6:15 AM and I was on my way to 3500 yards.  Once I was done with the kick set, I realized I was done.  Apparently, the team still have 2 more sets (6x150 free and something else).  Coach fully understood that I was done and I did a quick 300 cool down.  Apparently, the normal yardage for this group is 4000-4700 yards (!!!!).  I asked if it was appropriate for me to swim with this group (you know, since I'm so SLOW, compared to the rest of them), and she said yes and encouraged me to stick with it.  I figure that since my swimming skills and endurance are good, that she sees hope for me.  And maybe going to the triathlete group would be too easy for me.  Ugh.

So in addition to hills kicking my ass, I now have a Masters team to add to the list.  Its going to be an interesting 2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First Training Sessions in Denver

I'm working from home this week, so I have a chance to get my house organized.  This also gives me a chance to get in some longer workouts and explore a bit.

Sunday I did a 3 hour bike ride.  I was hoping to get in ~50 miles but due to navigational errors, I came up short (and did 5 min extra "bonus" riding to make up for it.)  Denver has a TON of paved bike trails which go all over the city.  Its going to take a bit for me to become familiar with things, so Sunday I stuck with what I knew.  Temperature was in the low 40s.  I wore medium weight socks, tri tank, long sleeve tech shirt, jacket, bike shorts, fleecy medium weight running tights, and regular fingerless cycling gloves.  A bit chilly at first, but once I got going, I was fine.  The other trick is figuring out where to access these bike trails, so I decided to start at South Platte Park, ride along the South Platte trail to Confluence Park, then hang a right on Cherry Creek until I needed to turn around.  Nice flat trail, no road crossings, AND I've ridden it before (although it was in 1993).  Ride was fun.  Only problem was the lack of bathroom stops.  After a failed stop at a park where the bathrooms were locked, I ended up stopping at a hotel which was right off of the Cherry Creek trail.  This could make things interesting on longer rides, if I also need to get more water.

Mile High Stadium from South Platte Trail:

View of downtown just south of Confluence Park on the SPT:

REI kayak demo course at Confluence Park:

This was the longest ride I've done in months.  Surprisingly, I felt fine :)

Monday was swim day.  The area where we're renting in gives you access to 4 rec centers as part of your HOA dues.  The rec center 5 min from our house is the one with a masters team.  I'm a bit nervous about the M-W-F Masters team (the one I want to join) because you have to swim 3500 yards in 1.5 hrs (easy) and hold 8 x 100 free on a 1:40 interval.  I could hold the interval, but it'd leave me with ~5 sec rest btwn 100s.  Hopefully they're not sticklers on that.  There's also a "triathletes" masters on Tu-Th, but my swimming snobbery doesn't allow me to consider joining this group.  I'm a swimmer first, then a triathlete, even though my swimming is MUCH slower since I started this whole tri thing.

I swam on my own, 3000 yd distance set.  Pool is nice.  8 lanes, wake-eating gutters, water temp around 80-81 (I think).  Could be colder, but definitely much better than the 86 degree indoor pool at MAC.

The rest of this week will be interesting.... 2 hr brick today, 2-3 a day workouts through Friday.  Saturday is a 4,000 yard swim and a 4 hr bike.  Sunday is a 2 hr run, chill out for 3-4 hours, then run another 40 min.  Ouch.  At least it will be warm (50's) and sunny here.  No need to be tortured inside on the trainer... yet.

Where's my stuff?

We've been in this house since the 7th.  I've physically been in the house maybe 5 days.  My pots, pans, coffee maker, espresso maker, and blender are all AWOL.  Very frustrating.  We hired professional movers.  I don't recall any boxes being left behind when we moved.  So they must be somewhere.  That's a lot of stuff to be missing.  I think the problem is that the movers did a crappy job labeling boxes.  We were so overwhelmed when we moved into this rental house that we did sort of a triage approach to unpacking.  Open a box, assume its labeled correctly, decide based on surface contents if it got unpacked or sealed back up for when we buy a house this summer.  Initially that worked, but about 2/3 of the way through the process, we started to realize that things weren't labeled well or packed by room.  We brought ~8 boxes to my mom's, and we were hoping our AWOL stuff was there.  Fortunately, my mom lent us A pot and A pan so Will wasn't totally without cooking pans while I was back in Houston for work.

Yesterday began mission: find our stuff.  Went to my moms, and nope, not there.  I did at least find a french press, so we aren't completely without coffee making tools.  (and Starbucks Via isn't a bad option, either). 

That means the stuff is in our garage....


Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm alive... just busy, and in limbo

We survived the move.... although I don't recommend moving on New Years Eve with a storm blowing through Kansas and Colorado on questionable tires.  Managed to find a 3 bdrm house to rent close to work, which also has access to free rec centers (with a Masters team and nice pool!) and ~60 miles of hike/bike trails.  Was home in our house for not even 48 hrs before I had to fly back to Houston for work for 2 weeks.  Presently, Will is at home (with a ton of boxes) being spoiled by my mom.  Word is that she stopped by the house, bringing stew and apple cobbler (!!).  Glad he's getting spoiled, but damn, I want apple cobbler.

That's about it for the update.  I very much feel like I'm in limbo.  Houston isn't my home anymore, but Denver still doesn't feel real.  Hopefully once I get back and settled and into a routine, things will start to feel real.