Sunday, January 31, 2010

5 hour ride

Felt very strong for the entire 5 hours on the ride. It was cold as we started (around 23 degrees) and warmed up to about 32 degrees somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, it didn't stay there very long and we finished up around 25 degrees. Brutal. Not quite as brutal as yesterday, but brutal nonetheless.

After a weekend of riding in the teens and twenties, I've realized that these temps are definately doable. It's all in the gear you wear when you ride. Toastie Toe toewarmers are a must, along with a big pair of gloves and a balaclava. I don't own a blaclava, but I'm sure it would've helped those "ice cream" headaches I got yesterday. Also, a nice pair of thermal tights, couple pair of booties, and multiple jackets and jerseys are recommended. If possible, the tights with the windproof panels in the front are the best. I made the mistake of wearing thermal running tights and the wind swept right through them like swiss cheese. Anyway, it can be done. It's a little tough, but anything is better than sitting on the trainer for 5 hours.

Overall, the last two weeks of training on the bike have been a phenomenal success. I've gotten a lot out of riding quite a bit, and don't feel at all fatigued. I have a scheduled rest week coming up, and I'm going to take advantage of it. I plan on swimming a bit, riding just a tiny bit (mountainbiking mostly), and resting up for some hard training before going off and riding the mountains in Spain. All in all a solid two weeks both in training and recovery.

Yesterday, 4 Hour Ride

Rode four hours yesterday, 3 outside and 1 on the trainer indoors. When I left the temperature was in the teens, and when I finally submitted to the cold it was even colder. There are certain temps that you just can't ride in, and the teens with single digit windchill is one of them. I dressed warm enough, but the real challenge was breathing. I got an instant "ice cream" headache the moment I stepped out the door. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't feel my face shortly after as well. It's freakin' cold!!!

The hour on the trainer was the longest in life! I hate riding indoors, but it was a necessity yesterday.

Today is a 5 hour ride. I'll go with my original plan to ride outside for an hour, inside for an hour, repeating this until the ride's done. Should be fun!

Yesterday, 4 Hour

Friday, January 29, 2010

45 minute swim

After yesterday's swim session with my swim coach, I was roasted. Today's swim was mostly about recovery and getting set for this weekends back to back long rides. My body felt pretty wasted when I got in the water this morning, so I just took it easy and did a lot of easy lengths, mixed in with some breast stroke and kick work. For some reason, there's nothing more soothing to me than doing lengths of dolphin kicks. I literally think I could do them all day. Maybe that's why I'm getting to be such a good butterflyer:). Whatever the reason, it's just nice to get in the flow of the water.

The rest of the day will be dedicated to work and resting. My foot is really coming around, and I'm going to see the PT today to work on getting some of the scar tissue out of my posterior tibialus. I'm 99% sure that is the root of the problem and that I should, with some luck, be able to resume light jogging next week. I'm not going to look forward to it though, becasue everytime I seem to do that another wrench gets thrown in the plans. We'll see...

Tomorrow is a 4 hour ride with a light swim followed by Sunday's 5 hour bike ride. The weather is suppossed to be frigid. Should make for some interesting times. Hopefully my toes and fingers will all stay on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

1 hour swim with coach

Swam one hour with coach. This was one of the tougher days I've had in the pool. After the last couple days of work on the bike, as well as not sleeping all that well for reasons I'm not conciously aware of, I'm pretty thrashed. It's not that I wasn't looking forward to being in the water today, I just wasn't looking forward to actually working in the water today. Big difference...

Once I got in I felt pretty good though. Today was all about that illusive "feel" of the water. We didn't do one stroke of freestyle, but instead worked more on fly and backstroke (just a little on the backstroke). I love doing the other strokes because they really do make me "feel" the water much better and, in turn, make my freestyle so much faster. Besides, working mostly fly for an hour is like lifting weights.

The biggest gain I've noticed this season from having a swim coach is the "freshness-factor". I don't slog through workouts anymore, and I'm generally eager to get to the pool to work on the things we've worked on together. There's SO much to swiming EVERY stroke that my workouts are never dull. I still love getting in the pool and just swimming endlessly, but drill work and technique stuff are more fun now as well. All in all, it's been a very productive winter for swimming!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3 hour bike

Great bike ride today. A lot of good things are happening out on the road for me.

It was very difficult to get on the bike today. I didn't sleep all that well last night, and I've been entirely too dependant on caffiene for most of my pep. I think a little of it has to do with seasonal depression, and the other part may be that I'm just not disciplined to get in bed and turn off the damned tv when it's time to go to bed. Either way, this morning was rough.

So I trudged along, got on the bike (whiny as all hell) and just started to pedal. I left the house with every intention of shortening my 3 hour ride to 2 hours. My coach even tweeted me (haha, this is just an example of how whiney I was being) to take the day off and go back to sleep. With my Spain trip coming though, I was reluctant to miss a workout-especially on the bike. So I left the house, started to ride, and immediately felt better. The time flew and before I knew it, I was on my way back home on the back half of my out and back, riding into a headwind and grinning ear to ear.

Two things about this ride that make me happy: First is that my heart rate was super, super low. At first I was concerned because my percieved exertion wasn't matching up. I felt like I was killing myself, but the low heart rate indicated otherwise. On climbs that would normally spike my HR, I felt nothing. After a while though, I realized that, in fact, I wasn't getting tired, I was moving fast, and my HR was low! Wow, I'm actually getting in shape! Just to be sure though I added some sprints just to make sure I could get it up (insert dirty joke here) and I could.

Secondly, I realized that the weather has had a HUGE impact on the way I veiw training right now. Let's face it, it's not exactly fun to spend 15 minutes getting DRESSED to go out to ride. Layering up like nobody's business and still freezing your ass off because the windchill is in the teens. The weather the past weeks here has been in the 40's and that's WARM!!! Today was sunny and warm in some spots, making it much more managable. Anyway, the point of all this is that when the weather is nice, I'm nice. When the weather is bad, I'm a pissy bastard. End of story.

Tomorrow is a big swim day. I'm scheduled to run as well (only for 20-40 mins), but I think with the foot only feeling back to normal for slightly less than a week, I don't want to chance it. I still think February 1st is the best option for my running return. This will give me almost 2 weeks of no pain. I'll feel more comfortable going into it with the confidence that I most likely won't do anymore damage to it. The swim tomorrow, although long, will be welcomed rest for my body. I don't feel beat up from the volume, but it'll be nice to get off the bike and into the water for a little bit. Looking forward to it.

Trip to the PT

So after Lucho's recommendation to check my anterior tibialus as the root of my foot pain (which was spot on by the way! Thanks man!), I took a trip to see my friend who happens to be a dynamite Physical Therapist. She's a runner and triathlete, so I trust her more than most doctors (who are not) whom I've seen about the problem.

Since working on it myself, I've seen marked improvement. The foot is really a non-issue now and I'm just about ready to resume running, but I'd really like to knock this knot out of my leg before I get back to it seriously. She hasn't had a chance to work on me yet-hopefully today will be the day. I'm looking forward to it and glad that I have friends in "high" places that are able to help. Come to think of it, why the hell didn't I just go to her from the start!? Oh yeah, that's right, because I'm stubborn as a mule!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

45 minute swim, 90 minute hill work on bike

Long but productive day both at work and with training. Got in a swim early in the day which focused mainly on drill work and my freestyle form. Since learning the other strokes, I've been getting into the habit of doing them almost too much. I've gotten a little sloppy with freestyle and I wanted to fix that. I really would like to avoid slipping backward in any way. I've worked very hard throughout this winter to get my stroke to where it is now and I don't want to loose that.

On the bike, in the afternoon, I worked on my climbing. Fortunately I live in a super hilly area (for Long Island anyway), and have an abundance of steep and nasty climbs to work with. Though they don't go on for too long distance-wise, they make up for what they lack in length with steepness. After spending 90 minutes around here climbing them, my legs were toast and I was ready to call it a day.

Overall I felt a little tired today, but I think it's more a lack of good sleep than it is a lack of recovery. I slept well Sunday night, but last night was a bit sketchy. I'll have to work on that.

Tomorrow is an easy 3 hour ride that I'm really looking forward to. I don't know what to expect weather wise, but the 40 degree temps have given me a real good feel of spring. Generally I'm much happier and my feet and hands are much warmer! The weather is suppossed to really suck this weekend, so tomorrow may be the last "good weather" ride I get in for at least a week. Makes me more and more excited to see the mountains in Spain in less than a month!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rest Day

I'm still a little bummed about the Jets loss this morning. It was a rather unexpectedly good season though, so there's not too much to sulk about. Besides, we finally have a QB and a coach, not to mention the best Corner in football. Things are gonna be good for Jets fans the next few years.

I'm goin' heavy on the chillaxing today. After 3 days of concentrated cycling, I'm whiped out. The two singlespeed days really did a number on me, and capping it off with a super hilly ride yesterday was the icing on the cake. I fell asleep early last night and woke up feeling pretty refreshed this morning. This is a great sign that my body handled the hard training and is healthy. My resting HR is also normal which I'm happy about.

I'm going to focus on my calf and foot bigtime today. Lucho really gave me some great advice about the Anterior Tibialus (sp?) and how it can cause pain in the foot. I don't know if this was the absolute "root" cause of the foot pain I've dealt with for the last month and a half, but working on the knot I found there has certainly helped relieve a lot of the pain. Time will tell, but if all goes well, I'd have to say that I'm very close to running regularly again. February seems like a pretty reasonable start up time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bike, 5 hours

Had a great, albeit tiring, 5 hours on the bike this morning. I woke up feeling pretty tired from the singlespeed riding the past couple days, but got out and went for it anyway. It was all base effort anyway, so it didn't matter that I didn't have that "pop" in my legs.

Of all the longer rides I've ever done this had to be one of the most memorable. I rode a couple roads I'd never been on, and discovered just how spooky a deserted mental facility can be. I wish I would have taken some pics, but I didn't want to stop or let my HR get too low. I was really focused on keeping my HR where it should be for the entire 5 hours. With the exception of a couple pee breaks and one or two stops at lights, I was able to do it.

In the last 3 days, I spent about 10.5 hours on my bike, 5 of which was on my singlespeed. Today alone I ended up with 10k feet of climbing. Not huge numbers by any means, but good for me this time of year. My foot feels better (in large part due to Lucho-see comments from yesterday's entry), and I'm looking forward to getting back into a rythm with my training. Although I've been able to bike and swim quite a bit this winter, I've still felt scattered without running. Anyway I look at it though, I'm still continuing to become a better athlete than I was yesterday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3:30 singlespeed moutain bike

Just got back from a gnarly 3 hour and 30 minute ride on The Meatsaw. After doing a hard 90 minutes yesterday, this was a toughie. I struggled for the first hour, but, as usual, I settled into a pretty steady effort as the time went by. My Garmin is on the fritz, but I'm guessing (based on rides done on the same trails in the past for roughly the same time) that there was around 4000-5000 feet of climbing. There's a lot of twisty singletrack with short, steep climbs that really shred your legs on the singlespeed.

If anything, riding a rigid, singlespeed 29er has made me into a sick rider. It allows you to go big on the declines and build a lot of power and technique on the climbs. It's easily one of the best purchases I've made. I have so much fun on this thing I can definately see an Xterra race in my future.

Tomorrow is another 4-5 hours in the saddle. I'll definatey be doing this on the road with my GEARED bike! Boy is that gonna feel easy!!!

Friday, 20 min disaster run, 90 min singlespeed moutainbike

I tried to run yesterday and it was a disaster. I made it about 1 mile in and started having pain in the arch of my foot. Oddly, the outside of my foot, where my injury is, had no pain, but I guess from overcompensating for the injury, the arch was being stressed. Not to mention, I wore my new New Balance 100 trail shoes (that have the fit and support of slippers) to run in. In most cases this wouldn't cause any sort of a problem as I've trained almost exclusively in racing flats and minimalistic shoes since I started running, but with the injury it was like a nail in the coffin of this particular run. So after 20 minutes, I trudged out of the trail, cursing like a sailor and depressed as all hell, got into the car, and went back to work with my arch on fire.

After work, I went back to the original plan of taking out The Meatsaw for 90 mins on the trail. I had the time of my life! All the depression and anxiety over my foot went away, and I was just able to focus on having fun and playing around in the woods. The singletrack where I ride is so quiet and peacful (not to mention technical as all hell-at least for Long Island). It was a great change of pace and I think it really saved me from falling off the deep end in regard to my foot.

Interestingly, I have had no pain in the foot today. The original injury is nearly gone, and the arch feels much better. I believe with a little more rest I'm gonna be back to neat. Also, wearing more supportive shoes and spending more time running on softer surfaces will help out too.

Today is a 4 hour bike ride. It's still a little chilly here though, so I might switch it from road to the mountain bike and go for only 3 hours. I have a 5 hour ride tomorrow that I really want to do tomorrow early when the temps are suppossed to be a little more mild. Either way, the focus of this weekend is to put in some good base hours and have fun on two wheels.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

1 hour swim with coach

Swam 1 hour with coach Kerri today. We don't do too much yardage in these workouts, but the instruction is invaulable. I always leave feeling better and more confident in my swimming than I did when I got in the pool. I think that's really the purpose of a coach. Follow the program, drink the Kool Aid, and get results. Any program that I've ever bought into, with almost any sport, has given me results. Sure you need to have some common sense, but for the most part, it works without fail.

I'm in a dark area right now personally. Training is going so-so, and I'm still a bit blue about not being able to run. The winter isn't very run right now. For the first time in many years I've been single for a while. Not to get into a personal rant and a "woe-is-me" sympathy post, but it's pretty lonely right now. Kinda makes you appreciate what you had.

It's funny because workwise I'm more successfull than ever, I'm going to Spain next month to ride my frickin' bike in the mountains, and I have a pretty solid network of friends and family. Still something's missing. Whether it's a girl or running remains to be seen. I guess the only proof will come when I run again. Maybe then I'll get some balance back. Ha! or I could just stop feeling sorry for myself and deal with it!

Anyway, I hate to put too much personal stuff up on this blog (as I intended for it to be all about my training), but I think this stuff is relevant. It's affecting my life, so therefore it's affecting my training.

Tomorrow is another swim along with a strength session on the bike. I intend on doing a couple longish (4-5 hour) rides on Saturday and Sunday, so if I'm feeling crappy tomorrow, I may ditch either the swim or the bike, but not both. I'm looking forward to getting in the water again tomorrow (I can't ever remember saying that before this winter!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3 hour bike and Goin' to Spain!!!

Rode three hours of all base today. I was freakin' pooped after not doing any real riding for about 2 weeks. The good news is I didn't feel anything in my foot. The bad news is, I've lost a bit of fitness from not doing anything longer than 2 hours in the past couple weeks. I was able to finish the ride strong, but I just didn't feel quite like myself today. This weekend is going to be BIG in terms of volume, so hopefully I'll get through it feeling O.K.

In other news...I'm going to Spain at the end of February!!! My coach runs a training camp there in the month of what he calls "Crapruary", and through some very fortunate circumstances, I'm going to be able to go. Originally I couldn't swing this trip, but I'm very excited to be going now. If nothing else, it'll give me a little time away-something I haven't had in years.

Otherwise things are going well with the foot. This has been the longest I've gone without any real running since I began a couple years ago. Come to think of it, I don't think I took more than two or three days off without a run. I guess I'm due after all that time. The biggest things that have been helping, while they aren't cures, are self massage and wearing minimalistic shoes and/or no shoes when possible. I'm convinced that shoes have been my greatest downfall in all this. Having a rotation of shoes is a good thing, but exclusively running in something like the Newtons, drastically different from anything else, at least for me, has proven to be a huge mistep-literally. I'm very dissapointed that I allowed myself to take it as far as I did, but it's been a good learning experience. With any luck, I'll be able to kick this injury and get in a little bit of base running before the Spain trip. Without any luck, I'll have to wait until Spain to do my first serious run training of the year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1 hour swim and things are looking up!

Had a decent 1 hour swim today. Six months ago, this would have been one of my best swims, but now that I'm officially "somewhat of a swimmer", it was only decent. I didn't sleep much last night because I was thinking of an opportunity that has come up for me in regards to triathlon. There is a good chance it will happen, but it's still a bit shaky. I want it desperately, and I think it was on my mind from the time I heard about it early in the evening last night, to 4am today when I got out of bed. All told, I probably managed about 3 hours of sleep-if that.

So the swim is down for today and I'm feeling good. I've come to love swimming almost in the same way I love running. A while ago, when I'd get down after having a bad run, I'd tell myself "at least I'm out there." A day of any running is better than a day without it. So in regards to swimming, a day in the water is better than any without. I've come to find a level of calmness in the water that is similar to how I feel when I'm out runnning on the road or on the trail. Keep in mind I said similar, not exactly. Nothing can replace running, but while I'm out, swimming is a suitable substitute. Now only if I could get out in the open water...

I'll have more about the opportunity I've been given when it's a certainty. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet, but it's really going to give me a great chance to pursue my dreams even more.

Training is done for today. Tomorrow is a sweet singlespeed ride, either on the roads or on the trails with The Meatsaw. It'll depend on the mood as to which I choose.

By the way, I think, rather KNOW, the depression I've been feeling latley is directly related to the season, and the cold, miserable weather we've been experiencing so far this winter. The temps for the last few days have been in the mid 40's and my attitude and general outlook on life is just better overall. Maybe I need to move to a different climate... Just sayin'.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Second post of the day because I'm bored as hell...

So I've been sitting on my ass for the better part of the day being depressed about how I can't run. I've come to realize that this depression is not only a result of being injured, but also a result of the weather. Like everywhere else in the country, it's been super cold, and super gloomy most of the time since November. Very crappy weather for someone who loves the hot sunshine of the summer.

Anyway, the weather today is getting nicer and nicer. Its relatively warm, 42 degrees or so, but it's also starting to get sunny. The little bit of warmth and sun, as well as the snow melting from the rain we had last night, has made me feel so much better than when I woke up this morning. I hope to keep this positive attitude as I really think it'll help more and more with my recovery.

Also, things really aren't all that bad with the foot. There's a little bit of pain, but it's really minimal. I could run if I had a race tomorrow, but I'm just waiting for it to be completely 100% before I resume normal training. On the good side of things, I've been able to swim more and better than ever, and my cycling has also remained strong. I'm hoping to ride some more this coming week, and getting out on the mountain bike too will help me break through this little funk that I'm in. Soon I'll be running again and this whole episode will have just been a great learning experience.

***And a note on my pictures in the title of the blog:
I'm copying Lucho a bit here because I think the pics of wolves he chooses on his blog are awesome! I love animals and think that we can all identify with them in some respects-after all, we are all animals anyway! So, with that, I've decided to put up pics of my favorite animal, the lion. I've loved lions and big cats since I was very young. The fericious grace they exhibit awes me. Very cool.

Rest Day

Slept 11 hours last night. I think this was one of those "I needed sleep, but didn't realize it nights." Since my training volume has been so low, I really haven't felt the need to sleep much. When I'm training a lot, I literally pass out by the end of the day, but lately I've been staying up well past 10pm most nights when I usually get to bed by 8:30 or 9 the latest. The late bed time combined with trying to get up at 4:30am everyday has caught up with me.

I decided to forgo the early morning swim, though it would've been nice. I didn't really need to do it, I just wanted to. Instead today I'm going to lay low, watch some movies, read a little, and enjoy my (mostly) day off. Back to it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Swim, rowing, and lifting

Another weekend with some cross training mixed in. Swam for a half hour, then hit the rowing maching for another hafl hour, and finished up with a lot of lifting.

I'm enjoying the mental stimulation I'm getting from lifting. I work up this morning feeling like crap and honestly a little depressed that I still can't run. After getting in the water though it went way, and by the time I was done pounding myself with weights, I felt like I never felt bad in the first place.

My biggest obstacle with lifting again will be not to gain weight. I've always had a tendancy to get big easily from lifting, so this has to be taken into consideration. I'm mostily going with a lot of body weight oriented exercises, as well as light free weights. I used to have lifting down to a science (for myself), but getting back into it has got me referencing a lot of my old workout journals. I used to lift A LOT of weight back in the day. It's a little scary to see how much I've changed.

Tomorrow is a rest day, but I'll probably hit the pool for a little bit in the early morning. The water has really had a great calming effect on me that's helping me get through my time without running.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bike 2 hours

Great bike today. The weather couldn't be better for riding. Well, it actually could be, but I'll take 45 degrees for January any day. If it weren't for all the salt and sand all over the road, not to mention puddles from the melting snow, it would have been the perfect January ride.

The rest week has gone well. I'm feeling better about training, but still a bit bummed out about my foot. It started to hurt on the top of the foot now, but I'm sure it's nothing as I haven't really used it at all, save for biking and swiming. It hasn't had any real pressure applied to it in close to a month, so I'm not worried. I probably dropped something on it or banged it in some way and forgot about it.

Tomorrow is an easy swim in the morning. I'm gonna do some more lifting tomorrow as well as rowing. I'm tempted to go for a trail run, but I really wanna wait until at least next week to do so. It sucks, but I'm sure it'll pay off when it really counts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

30 min continuous swim

Today was a scheduled rest day, but I just wanted to get in the water bad. Took it easy for 30 mins continuous. Again, just kept moving, mixing in breast, back, and freestyle with some kick sets and dolfin kick sets. I'm really loving the speed and ease I'm moving through the water with right now. It's something I've never felt before and it's really addictive. It hasn't replaced running, but man it feels good.

The foot was pain free for the first time in a while this morning. It only hurts a bit when I wear shoes, so I'm trying to avoid wearing them for as much as possible. Any time I get a chance I take my shoes off and walk around barefoot. Luckily it's in the mid 40's here today so I'm able to get away with it.

Tomorrow is an easy 2 hour spin. I'm hoping to get some good pics on the ride tomorrow since the weather is suppossed to be warm again. We'll see.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It must be the shoes...

Swam 1 hour with Kerri the swim coach today. It's a great feeling to be refining my stroke now instead of learning it from scratch. The lessons I've taken in the past month and a half have propelled me to where I can honestly say I'm a powerful and fast swimmer. The proof still needs to be in my race performances, but as far as times in the pool for all the major distances, (100, 500, 1000, etc.), my times are much, MUCH, faster than they've ever been. Not to mention that long workouts no longer make me as super tired as they once did. Very good stuff happening in the water.

I also made an interesting discovery a couple of days ago in regards to my injured foot. I noticed that I never have pain in the foot when I'm walking barefoot. I can even run barefoot with out pain. I think that it has to do with where my foot is landing when it lands in a big, cushioned shoe. I'm a forefoot striker, but my left foot is slightly pigeon-toed. I think that in wearing the Newtons I opened myself up to a vulnerable area. The space between the lugs and the rest of the shoe (on the outside-where my foot was landing), allowed my foot to be put in a bad position, opening it up to an overuse injury(if any of that makes any sense). Basically, because I was wearing VERY UNNATURAL shoes and running lots, I hurt the soft tissue on the outside of my foot. Now, even in regular trainers, it's tender because it hasn't healed all the way.

The solution: wear more minimalistic shoes! I think because there isn't as much room for error in the landing surface of the minimal shoes, I'm forced to land correctly on that injured foot, hence the reason why it doesn't hurt when I run barefoot. By wearing big, cushy trainers, I'm landing wrong on my foot, and hurting the area more.

So...Today I went out and bought a pair of the New Balance MT100's. These shoes are ridiculously awesome. Immediately I'm able to run with nearly no pain (except for when I puposely land wrong). I'm going to continue to rest the foot for the rest of this week and into next week, but it's satisfying to finally be getting somewhere with all this. I always trained in very minimal shoes before without injury. Why the hell did I ever change???

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

40 minute continual swim, rowing, weights

Did a 40 min continual swim early this morning. Didn't stop at the wall once. Just kept moving. Mostly freestyle, but threw in some lengths of the other strokes as well as some kick sets-both dolfin and flutter. I'm absolutely LOVING swimming right now. Something clicked in my head (or body as it is) and I've totally been reborn in the water. When I started swimming a couple years ago, my progress shot up really fast. I didn't have any prior swimming experience, but was able to muscle my way through workouts and races because of my athletic background. Now though, I have fluidity and grace in the water. Sounds kinda funny to say that, but I'm now that smooth swimmer in the pool. I'm the one that's doing all the fancy strokes and drills and kicks. It really feels great and has made getting to the pool something I want to do, rather than just have to do.

Another cool thing about this morning's swim was that it was dark in the pool. I got to the pool around 6:45 after seeing my first morning client, and there was only one other person in the pool. The far wall in the pool "room" is largely made of glass facing West, so there was only a dim light coming into the pool. Very, very cool to swim in. It was almost like I had the water all to myself. I'm going to try and get there everymorning at that time so I can take advantage of the quiet and nice atmosphere.

After the swim I did a 5k row (about 25 mins), lifted some weights, and did some swim cord work. Although not running is really making me upset, I'm finding ways to cope. However, there's something about running that I can't get from anything else. It's like a drug. I miss it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Swim, 40 mins

Just had an easy swim this morning. I'm still super sore from my lifting this weekend, mosty in the chest and abdominal area. I'm wondering if my "not sore" areas (back, shoulders) are a result of all the rowing I did easing some of the tighter muscles. Either way, I hurt, but in a good way I guess.

I'm so happy to be enjoying swimming while my foot heals completely. It's taking a lot of the stress of not training away. I mean I'm training, but just not like I want to. I want to do it all right now, but that's just simply not a reality right now.

I'm toying with the idea of getting back in the water this afternoon, but I think I'm gonna call it a day. This is a recovery week, and that's what I need to do. Maybe another short swim tomorrow and some light lifting. Nothing as crazy as this weekend though. Just wanna keep active.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Swim, 25 mins

Had another great swim today. It's a recovery day today, so the swim was generally to just stretch out my super sore muscles. I forgot how much I like the soreness that lifting gives you. It's different than running and biking. More of a deep, tight soreness. I'm lovin' it.

For the rest of this week I plan on taking it very easy on my foot. No cycling whatsoever, and lifting bodyparts that dont involve the lower legs. I'm dying to do some calf raises, but it's just too much of a risk right now. The foot has been pain free now for a couple days, and I want to keep that trend going. Doing something stupid again (like falling off my cross bike and banging it on something) doesn't fit into the program right now. The number one priority is health, so that's what I'm gonna concentrate on.

Luckily, I've rediscovered my love for swimming. The more I think about it, I think I can truly love any sport that I do, given the fact that I see myself improving in it. I have a very strong will to accomplish and attain what I want, which is a good thing mostly, but has bitten me in the ass more than once. With swimming, my improvement in the last few months has been astounting. I'm swimming very fast, and taking steps to get even faster. Getting to the pool is now more of a pleasure than a burden.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

4 hours, swim, row, lift, core

Did a double swim session today at the gym, with weights, core, and rowing mixed in between. I met up with my buddy Adam which made the time go faster for everything. The swim is really really coming along now. Being force to do nothing but swim right now has really been a blessing in disguise. For a while last season I loved swimming, then I hated it, and then I decided I was going to do everything in my power to get better at it. Now I love it again.

Progressing in something that you used to suck at, and seeing your hard work come to life is incredibly satisfying. The water seems more and more to be my friend and I am so thankful that my hard work is showing me improvement nearly every time I get in the water.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I'm sure I'm gonna need it. Lifting weights has reawaken some of my muscles, but at the same time made them incredibly sore and tight. The second swim at the end of my weight session I'm sure will help to ease some of that soreness. I'll swim easy tomorrow if I can, but if I'm too sore I may just float around a bit. Either way, I'll get in the water for something.


So there are more than 2 ways to skin a cat! or wreck yourself doing things other than swimming, biking, and running! Working out yesterday was tough. It's been so long since I did anything other than triathlon related stuff. I can't believe I actually used to do nothing but lift weights!

Today will be more of the same. I'm going to start with a light swim to loosen up, and then hit the weights and rowing machine again. I'd like to spend another 3 hours at the gym today, but I'll dictate that by how I feel. Again, I don't want to get too overzealous and wind up hurting myself in another way.

The toughest part about these indoor workouts is just that-working out INDOORS. I've really come to love the feeling of being outside when training, and this is like pulling teeth. This will be a good test of my mental strength too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

3 hours 30 minutes, rowing, lifting, and core

No SBR today. Decided instead to give my foot the attention it needs/deserves, and pull the plug on all activities that cause stress directly on the foot. I haven't run in the last few weeks, with the exception of a test run last Tuesday, and I've been kidding myself thinking that cycling didn't hurt it. The truth of the matter is, I work a job that demands that I be on my feet for the majority of the day. All that walking around, coupled with cycling for 3-5 hours at a time, doesn't leave me much down time for the foot to rest. Really, the only time I've actually been resting, is when I'm sleeping.

So for the rest of this weekend, as well as next week, I'm going to lay off it in a big way. The only triathlon-related training that I'll be doing is swimming. Otherwise, I'll use the row machine, weights, and core work to fill in the rest of my schedule. I rowed today and it made a huge difference. I was able to get in some solid aerobic base work, virtually without any stress on my foot.

Today's workout looked something like this:

60 mins rowing
60 mins lifting, including Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Leg Curls, Leg Extensions, Dumbell Curls, Dips, Swim-specific cord work, Pull Ups, Incline Bench. All exercises were 3 sets of 15 reps at a weight that wasn't nuts, but decent.
30 mins of core work, including Back Extensions on a ball, Crunches on a ball and the floor, Planks, Twisting Crunches, and Bird-Dog plank things.
30 mins rowing.

The most difficult thing to do during this lifting session was to pace myself. I had to remember that I'm an endurance athlete now and not a bodybuilder anymore. Looking around in the gym, I used to be one of the biggest guys in there and now I'm one of the skinniest. I don't really care either way, but it was important to remember that I didn't have to go super heavy anymore, and to do the right thing with the weights.

Tomorrow will likely be more of the same. I may throw in some more complex exercises, but without the use of my foot it'll be difficult. I'd love to work in some ax chops and calf raises, but right now I don't think it's a good idea. Also, I'm starting to think that this shift in training focus, for the moment, is just what I need. My motivation was at an all time high after this past season, and without this injury, I believe I may have burned out. Doing a little cross training, if anything, will help me. It's time to get back to those weights that I've neglected for the last 3 or 4 years.

Friday, January 8, 2010

40 minute swim

Great swim today. I wanted to keep it on the light and easy side of things as I've woken up the last couple days feeling like crap. No need to make things worse. I'm really enjoying the water right now and it makes me happy to be swimming. Good things, good things.

I'm still frustrated by my foot, and I think (AGAIN) that I'm going to take this whole weekend off to rest it. It's so close to being healed that I think I really just want to actually give it the opportunity to, instead of trying to train through it with cycling. I'll still swim this weekend, but I'm gonna forgo getting on the bike and see how that effects in next week. I don't think this can really do any harm moving forward.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

90 min swim with swim coach

Great swim session today. I continue to make progress and my personal bests are getting personally better. If nothing else, this injury has made me into a much better swimmer than I would have been otherwise.

Also, I've been thinking a lot about what's happened to my foot. Most times it gets me very depressed that I can't run whenever I want to, but I've learned that it's all about keeping a positive mindset. That sounds cliche, but it's true. Keeping things positive when alls is going well is ridiculously easy. It's when the fit hits the shan that you absolutely must keep your head up. I always thought that I was one of those peole that would be strong through tragedy, but I've allowed myself to become incredibly depressed about not being able to run for only a month! Talk about being trivial! This isn't a life or death situation we're talking about here! There are certainly bigger things in the world to worry about.

So with this I've learned to be mentally tough. I've failed at times (a lot), and kept it to myself, but it's time to man up, deal with this, and allow myself to heal. I'm at 90% now, and it'll be 100% before I know it as long as I stay the course. Now, I just have to keep telling myself what I just wrote and I'll be ok. :)

Tomorrow is another swim, but shorter, and a lot of rest. I woke up feeling like crap today. I think it's from pushing a bit the last couple days, the cold weather, and not sleeping and eating well. I guess it's my body telling me to chill. Otherwise the rest of the weekend will be full of cycling and some more swimming. Hopefully the foot will come around sooner or later, and I can add that last part of triathlon back in to my training.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2 hour 5 minute bike, slammed my freakin' foot!

Rode for 2 hours and 5 minutes on the 'cross bike after a very frustrating issue with the tires delayed my start time. Without going into detail, the beed on both tires (clinchers obviously) wouldn't line up with the rim. I actually blew out a couple tubes when instaling the new tires. Very pissed. Has anyone with a 'cross bike ever had this problem? I've never ever had an issue with beeds not lining up on my road and mountain bikes.

So after all the mechanical issues were up, I was out on the road only to find that my chain was desperately in need of lube. A quick stop at the bike shop and I was good to go. Other than that the ride was pretty uneventful until I endo'd in a pile of snow and landed on my head. Interestingly enough, I wound up slamming my bad foot somehow and I saw stars. I'm hoping I didn't do any further damage to it, but it does hurt really bad in a throbbing-not-so-good kind of way. I'm hoping to stay off it for the remainder of the night and with any luck I'll wake up pain free in the morning. Fingers crossed.

The 'cross bike is the coolest thing I've ever ridden. It's fast, nimble, and grippy as all hell. I got to ride on a dirt road with ice, snow, mud, and sand, and the bike handled just like I was on the tarmac. I'm really looking forward to doing my first 'cross race in a month!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

90 min singlespeed bike, 30 min swim

Killed my training today. Got on the Meat Saw and churned out 90 minutes of singlespeed heaven. We have a decent amount of snow on the ground right now, and that made it much more fun to ride. I did about 50/50 road to snow covered trails and fire road. Had a great time and got in a lot of great strength work. Really enjoying the inclimate weather and the super cold teens and twenties temps we're having.

Swam this evening for 30 mins as well. I don't know if it was waiting until evening to swim, or if it was just that I was tired, but I sucked it in the water today. I felt good and fast like I have been, but my shoulders were sore and I didn't have any pep. I was planning on getting in an hour swim, but it just wasn't my day.

Tomorrow is a 3 hour base ride on my new cyclocross bike! Super psyched to get that thing on the road. It's always motivating to ride a new bike. I'd like to get out in the morning, but again, like today, I don't think it's gonna happen. Work is a little crazy now (being that it's the new year and everyone is all pumped up to get fit!-It'll last for 2 weeks!), and I probably wont get on the bike until midday. I guess that's ok as it'll hopefully be above freezing by then.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Run 20 mins

Felt pretty good running today, but I'm afraid I may have gone out a little too soon. I still have a little bit of soreness, not during the run, but in the hours after. I'm really going to have to wait until I have a week of no symptoms whatsoever before I run again. This is unfortunate, but there are good things that are happening here.

First of all, the run, although very short, felt super easy. I haven't lost fitness, I've just lost some of the running muscles I had before having to take this little layoff. I'm happy that my biking and swimming have "kept me in the game" as far as fitness has gone.

Also, I'm glad that it's getting better. This sounds pretty simple, but I'm happy that I ran 20 mins pain free, and that so far, I don't have any real pain or discomfort. I'm dissapointed that it seems to be tightening up, but it's just an indication that there's still some healing left to be done. Soon, if I continue to be smart about not pushing it, the whole injury will be a non issue and I'll be back to running on it full time.

I should be getting a cyclocross bike tomorrow, so I'll have some fun and cool pics to show from when it arrives. I've decided to get into that sport just because it looks like so much fun! I'll be doing a 'cross race in Maryland on February 7th and I'm really looking forward to it. By then the foot should be good and I'll be ready to have a blast. I'm hoping it will be muddy, cold, and gross-great cross conditions!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday (continues)

Threw in the towel on training today. There are some days where you just need to take off. I'm not sure what the reason was for my feeling like crap, but whatever it is, it needs to be addressed. Trying to "muscle" my way through a workout today would not be a good idea for me mentally or physically.

I got on the trainer for 35 minutes and couldn't help but be mad the whole time. I was like a cranky 4 year old. I thought the endorfins would kick in and I'd be ok, but the more I pedaled, the more upset I got. Training is just not in the cards today.

I got off the trainer, took a quick shower, made a ham and cheese sandwhich (my favorite right now), and now just plan on relaxing for the rest of the day. Something is off with me either mentally or physically (or both) and I need to rest my body and mind before I dig myself into a hole. No biggie, just needed.


Don't really feel like doing much today. This is why I hate the holidays. When I get off schedule from anything, it really has a great effect on my entire life, training included. I enjoy the chance to relax and see family, but I don't like getting away from my normal schedule. It changes the way I feel, and not always for the better.

Case in point: Today. I had a real hard time getting out of bed this morning, and generally don't feel like doing anything today. I felt like crap yesterday after training, and the feelings carried over to today. I'm not sure why though. I may not have fueled enough during trianing yesterday. I ate like a monster into the night, and I believe that the "bonk" may have hit me when I was done training. I've been a little neurotic with my diet lately (trying not to eat as much as my training volume has dipped resulting from my injury), so that might be a reason as well. All in all, things are F'd up at the moment.

With that I'm debating on whether or not to throw in the towel on training today. I don't really feel like it, I'm tired, I'm sore, and it's 19 degrees outside with occasional 50 mph winds. I'm usually up for a day like this and love the challenge, but I just don't know if I'm game for it today. A day of rest may be better than pushing things too far.

Or...maybe I just need to HTFU and get on the trainer and grind it out while watching movies and listening to podcasts. I don't know. What I do know is that I need another cup of coffee before I make any decisions...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 hour ride

Ok, so I discovered 2 things during today's training. 1: I hate training indoors, and 2: riding on the snow really isn't that hard, and it can even be fun.

So I started today with an hour on the rollers. Nothing too bad, just constant base effort-keeping the legs movin and the heartrate low. Come to think of it, if I hadn't kept the legs movning I probably wouldn't be typing right now as I would have crashed off the rollers in my living room. I had to head back to work, so I only got the first hour in.

After work I came back, manned up, and went out in the 4 inches of new snow we just got with The Meatsaw (my singlespeed 29er mtb) and had a ball. I haven't ridden the "saw" in a while, and I forgot how much I love this bike! It's definately my favorite of all the bikes I have (latest count was 8) just becasue of the pain it inflicts. The thing is pretty damn light, built like a tank, and has never failed me. It's like the Hummer of bikes. Not that stupid H2, but the real deal, military issue Humvee. Bad ass! When I finally do an Xterra (hopefully this upcoming season sometime) I'm gonna get a bad ass 29er with some gears and rip the bike apart!

Apart from the fun riding outside, I got to dust off some of my mountain bike skills and fly around the local golf course. I don't think many of the golfers would appreciate how cool my bike is, or how much fun it is to ride on a snow-covered golf course, but I don't think they can catch me anyway!

So after the hour and a half I spent outside, I came back in to finish riding for the day on the rollers. Coming back inside to finish up sucks. I hate working out indoors, and this was like tourture. The final time I had left to get to three hours felt like an eternity. I will say though, that indoor workouts do have their place. It's ten times harder to ride for 5 hours on the rollers (which I did a couple times last year) than it is to ride outside for 5 hours. I think it's a combo of the constant effort (no traffic lights, descents, etc.) and the mental aspect of not going anywhere while riding.

I love getting outside for the adventure it presents. I try to make my long rides like a journey. Today was fun playing in the snow, and tomorrow will be more of the same. I'll probably ride for 4 or 5 hours outside and I'm sure that it'll feel like 2 minutes compared to the time spent on the rollers today.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Today was a big "zilch" on the training and big on the eating. Last night I drank a bit more than I wanted to. I've pretty much stopped drinking since I decided to train seriously, so the glass of scotch, 2 beers, and 2 shots I had hit me like a ton of bricks. Back in my college days this would have been the warm up, but now in my skinny triathlete days, this almost put me down. Now it was over the span of about 6 hours, but damn, I can't drink like I used to.

And, as we all know, getting drunk usually comes with a pretty nasty hangover the next day. Yeah, I definately forgot about that one. I haven't gotten drunk in so long I've forgoten what it's like to wake up with your head split in two! Either way, I had a good time last night with some great people. Ringing in the new year and over indulging along the way has got to have its place in life.

So today consisted of eating badly. I started with bacon, eggs, a bagel, and homefries covered in enough butter to cause a heart attack, then followed that up with a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies. I must have had at least 8 cookies...not good! I finished up with some sushi, so I guess the whole day isn't a total loss.

On the injury front, the foot is ready to go. I did some light jogging around the house and to and from the car, and didn't even have a "ping". I'm going to give it an additional week to rest though. I anticipated it being ready by today, but being that today is really the only first day that I truly didn't feel anything in the way of pain, I think it would pay to let it rest just a bit more. At this point, I'm certain that a week one way or another isn't going to matter much. Besides, my bike fitness and swim fitness are both very strong. I've really done a good job holding onto some fitness through this injury, and I'm very happy with that.