Sunday, February 28, 2010

Azalea Triathlon and 8:45 mile!

A spot opened up for the Azalea Triathlon in Wilmington, NC. My parents-in-law and awesome wubby were game so I signed up. So, two weeks from today, I will be racing my first triathlon. The Azalea Triathlon is a sprint tri (300 yard pool swim, 10 mile bike, and 5K run) so I think I should focus on speed next week. So far I have really tried to build up my endurance with loooooooooong bike rides and even looooooooooooooooonger runs.

After last weekend's 10-Miler, I took Monday mostly off. I did 3,200 yds in the pool and decided to give the legs a rest. On Tuesday, I started the day with 25 miles on the gym bike. In the afternoon I went to the indoor track to run a few miles. My legs were still a bit sore and stiff from Sunday so I did not have a plan. I hesitated between long and steady and short and fast until the end of my first mile (10:30). After that mile, I kept going faster and finished mile 2 in 09:50. I walked one lap and tried for a fast third mile which I did in 08:45. Even though I knew I was on the right pace for that time (75sec/lap) I was very excited since it was my fastest mile to date (yeah, I know, for most people this would be a slow marathon pace, but I was happy with it!). I walked two more laps, and then ran 3 more slowly. I started one more fast mile but after 1 lap I gave up because my left leg was hurting like crazy.

On Wedneday, I did another 22 miles on the stationary bike with a 2 mile run thrown in the middle. I was going to finish with another 2 mile run but since my leg was still very stiff I decided not to risk it.

On Thursday I went for a morning swim (2,600 yds) and an afternoon run, again at the indoor track. This time I did 6 slow miles with the purpose of keeping my heart rate low. It worked! My mile splits were 10:48, 10:32, 10:40, 11:15, 10:30 and 10:07. My average heart rate was 156 and maximum heart rate was 167. My left leg/hip was still very tight and I was very careful not to hurt myself. I am really focused on not getting hurt. I think I am doing great so far, but there is this little nagging voice in my head singing "overtraining, overtraining, overtraining...".
On Friday, I took it *very* easy, at least intensity-wise. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the rower. Then I plunked myself on the stationary bike and biked until I hit 2 hours. I kept the intensity fairly low. My heart rate was around 130-135 most of the time. I think that helped my legs recover from all the running.

So today I was thinking of taking the day off. However, since my legs were feeling so good for the first time in a week, I decided to go to the indoor track for... another 10 miles. I don't think I will be doing that again. 70 laps. Inside. In the curves, the sides of the track are elevated (I guess for the fast people) which makes it very uncomfortable to run. They do alternate the running direction on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday vs. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sadly, this week I went running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The consecutive clockwise running might explain why my left leg is hurting. However, I did manage to run my 10 miles in 1:45:39. And since each mile is only 6.85 laps, my 70 laps were actually 10.2 miles... And I did the last mile in 09:10... Go me!!!

Now I just need to work on getting fast(er) in the next two weeks, practice transitions, and I will be ready for the Azalea Triathlon!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Biking Dragonfly

After my long run on Sunday, I had an awesome swim on Monday morning. I am still not in top swimming fitness. It took me 1 hour and 6 minutes to finish a 3,200 yds workout. Back in the good old days it took me 48 minutes to finish 3,000 meters... That was the summer of 2003, when I was between schools so I went swimming every day for two hours, sometimes twice a day. I have not put as much time in swimming as I have in running and biking, figuring that the swimming would come back to me soon enough.

I bailed on my bike workout last night, my legs and I were all tired and I thought I'd better not push it. I hadn't taken my regular day off and had two long runs in a single week. So I biked 25 miles at the gym this morning and will try to go for a short run this afternoon. The legs are a bit stiff and sore in places. But as long as the aches and pains are not in the same place from one workout to the other, I should be good, right?

So after the totally fantastic bike trainer that my awesome mom got me as an early b'day present, another cool surprise came last night. A package from REI, courtesy of my wonderful mom-in-law. My very own dragonfly bike jersey. I totally love it. The bike capris were also a hit. Now if only the weather could cooperate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First 10 Miler

For the first time (I think ever) I ran 10 miles! It took me 1 hour and 51 minutes. I wasn't sure I actually did 10 miles until I got home and mapped my route on google pedometer. My pre-planned route was covered in a foot of snow so after a couple of blocks I had to improvise.
While I was mapping my route, I discovered that my awesome wubby had very thoughtfully put my homemade cookies on my desk, right next to me... Most of them are already gone now. So I am going to assume that they qualify as a great post-workout snack. Pity we are out of ice cream... (Buns, can you read this???)
My fitness is definitely increasing. As I am typing this, my heart rate has gone down to 64 bpm. I don't think I have ever seen it that low. Yeah for triathlon training!!!

Frozen (B)icycle and Week Recap

Today my wubby and I went on our second bike ride of the year. Our first one was a 15 mile ride in January, right after we got back from winter break. Due to the cold and snow we had to wait until today for attempt number 2. The weather was a balmy -2C when we started and it got as warm as 3C (37F). We rode from State College to Bellefonte (13 Miles) in about an hour and had a great time. In Bellefonte we met with a good friend and had a delicious lunch at Cafe on the Park, which is pretty much my favorite place to eat in the whole wide world. After 1 1/2 hours we reluctantly decided to brave the cold for a second time.

The ride back starts with some small hills and soon reaches a hill known around here as "Seibert Road". This is a continuous hill of almost 1 mile (0.95 to be exact) with a mix of very steep climbs and mild climbs. Its challenge is usually compounded by the extra large lunch consumed beforehand and today was no exception. In honor of my triathlon resolution, I decided to go at it twice. Hopefully, between now and August I will be able to master 20x Seibert and live to tell the tale. Overall, I was pretty happy with the ride. It was nice to get out of the gym. I was however disappointed at how slow I was. Less than 12mph average. I need to get this to >15mph before August...

The awesome wubby that has agreed to encourage me on my triathlon adventures was not as happy. He bike-commutes to work every day and is used to riding short distances in the cold. He was not a fan of the brutal cold wind on some of the more flat sections. Also, in his words, awesome wubby thought "his determination (psychological edge) would help him keep up with me by sheer force of will". So on the way to Bellefonte, he raced ahead, showing off. It caught up with him on the way back. Now his arms are sore and his pride is hurt. In the wubby's words, "the ride beat the c--p out of me".
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. After Monday's disappointing run, I had a lukewarm 20 miles on the bike at the gym on Tuesday followed by an awesome "indoor brick" on Wednesday. I call my "indoor brick" a 10 mile ride on the gym bike, followed by 2 miles on the treadmill, followed by another 10 miles on the bike and another 2 miles on the treadmill. On Thursday morning I went swimming but I had not had my morning coffee and had a Dr.'s appointment and cut my workout short. 1.600 yds instead of 2,400.

On Thursday afternoon, I went indoor running with my friend Dan again. This time, I let him run at his pace and did not try to keep up. He lapped me 3 times in 16 laps... I followed my "good resolutions" from Monday's debacle. So I started slow and went at my pace and made sure I did not have an empty belly. My laps were 10:48, 10:32, 10:38, 10:58, 10:54 and 09:50. I probably should have run miles 4 and 5 much faster but Dan and I were talking and having a good time. I did try to accelerate the last mile and went increasingly fast. Our last lap was 1:10 and felt very fast. I did not know I could run that fast! I am still terribly slow at running, but I am seeing some improvement and am enjoying it tremendously.

Friday, I did a paltry 20 miles on the bike trainer. I was supposed to do more but I got hungry and cold and I knew we were going to do 25 miles + today (my official day off) so I let it go.
All it all this was a great week. I managed 4,200 yards of swimming, 85 miles of biking (highest so far) and 18 miles of running for a grand total of 10 hours. I still have my long run tomorrow which I am hoping will take place outside, weather permitting.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I took two days off (Saturday and Sunday) as we were going away for the weekend. So I (tried) to do my long run on Monday. 8 miles, same as last week Monday. For some reason, yesterday's 8 miles were SO much harder than last week's.
Last week I did 56 laps in 1:27, this week I did 55 laps in 1:25. So my average pace was about the same. However, last week I started off with 11 minute miles and went faster. Yesterday my miles were something like
Lap 07 0:10:20 --> 10:20
Lap 14 0:20:25 --> 10:15
Lap 21 0:31:00 --> 10:20
Lap 28 0:42:03 --> 11:03
Lap 35 0:53:12 --> 11:09
Lap 42 1:04:10 --> 10:58
Lap 49 1:15:12 --> 11:02
Lap 55 1:25:48 --> 10:36 (I think we accidentally skipped one lap so it should be 12:10)
My heart rate was also much higher than it was last week, and I felt like I was about to explode from mile 5 onwards. If it weren't for my good friend Dan running with me, I probably would have given up at mile 6...
So what was different this week?
1) I went swimming in the morning, running in the afternoon. So I might have already been tired.
2) I started too fast
3) Dan and I were talking, which I have never done before (it made the laps go by much faster)
4) There was a lot of "traffic" on the track, so we were dogging people left and right, that made it harder to keep a steady pace.
Either way, after my 8 miles I went home in the slipperiest conditions yet. It took me 45 minutes to walk home. When I got there I was so nauseous I went straight to bed. This morning we overslept by 45 minutes, so I am still digesting my extra large, extra late breakfast before going to the gym. I am going to take it easy this morning and be more careful next time!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Tuesday and Wednesday I focused mainly on the bike. I did 20 miles on Tuesday and another 20 on Wednesday. On Wednesday I also did 4 miles on the treadmill by alternating 10 miles of biking and 2 miles on the treadmill. On Thursday, I went back to the indoor track for another 6 miles (42 laps). Although 1 miles is 6.85 laps, I gave up and rounded it up to 7. So I kept track of my pace per 7 laps, much easier! So the breakdown was:
lap 7 : 10:45
lap 14: 21:15 --> 10:30
lap 21: 31:30 --> 10:15
lap 28: 41:45 --> 10:15
lap 35: 52.00 --> 10.15
lap 42: 1:01:40 --> 09:40!!!!
Today I did 30 easy miles on the bike gym. Tomorrow and Sunday are off. So all in all a great week! Looking forward to the next one!

Monday, February 8, 2010

New milestone!

This is the indoor track at rec hall (in red). Sadly, there were no gymnastics going on.
So this morning I managed to run 8 miles, uninterrupted. I did not even stop to drink or walk or adjust or anything... That is a huge achievement for me, I don't think I have ever run that far. Also, since it was so slippery outside, I had to run 55 laps around the indoor track instead of enjoying 8 miles of scenic views.
I was actually supposed to run these 8 miles yesterday but fell off the training wagon. After an awesome Thursday workout, I took my bike to visit a friend. The weather was so beautiful and warm, I just had to, even though I knew my legs were shot. On Friday, I was supposed to ride 30 miles, but the weather was bad and I thought I would do it on the trainer. I bailed out after 60 minutes, and decided to do my 30 miles in the gym on Saturday (my day off). I went to the gym after a copious meal, and gave up on my 30 miles after 40 minutes. I wasn't getting my heart rate up and was pedaling a miserable 12mph. On Sunday, I had the lofty plan of running 6 miles on the treadmill (because it was so slippery outside) and then spend an hour on the trainer at home. You guessed it right, neither happened. I warmed up for 20 minutes on the bike (4.9 miles) and then started running on the treadmill. I started too fast (I guess) and gave up after about 30 minutes. And in the evening, when I got home, I ate ice cream, folded laundry and went to bed.
So what was different about today. Well, as my awesome hubby put it, I had to treat my training as "inevitable". I was meant to run 55 laps today. So I was going to run 55 laps. And I did. I started easy and kept going easy. I think I kept a very steady pace of +/- 10.30 miles. So, no more icy road excuses, there is always the indoor track :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The trainer

The trainer came on Thursday. Just in time for me to try it out yesterday. I lasted 60 minutes then I got bored. Hopefully I can build that up to more. I will need to, if we get any more snow like this...

Friday, February 5, 2010

2 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 8 miles... 200 miles?

Three weeks ago, the furthest I (thought I) could run was 2 miles.
Two weeks ago, the furthest I could run was 4 miles. And in the three times I ran 4 miles since, I went from 48 minutes, to 44, to now under 40!
Last week, I conquered 6 (and a half) miles in freezing weather.
This week, I will aim for 8. And probably take it easier next week.
Theoretically, this is a linear relationship. Therefore, in 10 weeks I should be able to run 20 miles, and in 100 weeks I should be able to run 200 miles. Yeah, right!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


This is my fourth week of "training". I call it "training" because I don't think I really know what I am doing. I am just focusing on distance. So today I had 20 miles of biking and 2 miles of running planned. I tried to stick to 15 mph on the bike (it was a stationary bike at the gym) and 6 mph for the run (a treadmill with 2 to 3 incline). I figured that my first priority should be endurance and getting my butt, legs and joints used to repetition.
I have a few constraints that force me to do things this way as well. The weather in Pennsylvania is not great, so for the time being riding my bike outside is out of the question. This in turn forces me to do all of my biking at the gym. This being the "pre-Spring Break" period, the university gym is packed all day long, every day. So I try to go at 8 AM when the waiting times are not too long. My second constraint is that we are only allowed to use one facility/ attend one class per day. So I can't use the gym and the pool on the same day. I also can't attend a spinning class and use the pool the same day. On weekends, the hours are rather limited and equally packed.
Fortunately, the bikes are usually not in great demand so I can still do 80 minutes of biking in one gym session as long as I keep changing bikes (there is a 20 minute limit on all cardio machines). So I try to do only use the gym for biking (3 times per week) and occasionally combine it with a short treadmill run (1 time per week). I try to do my longer runs outside (3 times per week) and combine them with swimming days (2 times per week). So my final schedule is something like:
Monday Run 4 miles outside, Swim 2,400 yds at the pool
Tuesday Bike 20 miles in the gym, usually with 20 minutes on the elliptical or the rower
Wednesday Bike 20 miles and Run 2 miles in the gym
Thursday same as Monday
Friday Bike 30 to 50 miles (30 if the weather is too bad for outside, more if I get to go out)
Saturday Day Off
Sunday Run 6 to 10 miles outside.
So far I have been lucky and all my outside runs have worked out. Last Sunday the temperature was -12C (10F) and I survived. Last Friday it was snowing and I managed not to slip. But if the weather gets worse, I will have to find a backup plan...
In other news, I signed up for the Happy Valley Sprint Tri on July 3rd. My parents will be in town so they get to pick up the pieces...