Tuesday, March 31, 2009

wetsuits are hot

Really, really hot.  And I don't mean just when you are out of the water.  (And I really don't mean "hot" in the sense that they are a giant, full-body Spanx.)  They are hot when you are IN the water.  But, on the other hand, they are really, really buoyant.  You can pretty much float upright without doing anything.  Neat.

Here are two pictures of my wetsuit.  And yes, that is my chest in a wetsuit. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

run 5 swim1

or "take that, charlie horse"

Tonight was "swim .75 miles" night at swim GTS.  And after turning over a new leaf today, I decided to go straight from my temp job at BC/EFA up to Riverbank State Park and run on the cushy track before the group swim.  It took me a few minutes to convince the front desk guy to let me stash my stuff in a locker an hour early, but I prevailed and hit the track.  I don't typically like running on a track - it's boring! - but I have to admit that the soft surface makes it feel a heck of a lot easier.  

I plugged in my headphones and re-visited an old running playlist on my iPod.  I almost never run with music these days.  The coaches prohibit it at GTS.  But listening to my "running" playlist I definitely had some flashbacks to running in San Francisco more than 2 years ago.  Nothing like a little OK Go to get you moving.  

There was a track club of some sort training tonight and let's just say I was seriously lapped....several times.  Those guys were fast!  I got in a decent 5 miles before heading in for the swim.

Tonight's challenge was to swim a continuous .75 miles.  And when I finished, I kept going...until I had swum a full mile!  Woo hoo!  And I did it in under 40 minutes despite a wicked charlie horse that stopped me cold for a second and had me kicking with only one leg for a few lengths.  (And despite constant notes from the coaches that I need to keep the fingers of my right hand closed - I just can't seem to do it!)  I am happy to report that I have now exceeded all of my race distances.  I have swum more than the 1.5K swim, biked more than the 40K bike and run more than the 5k run.  Now I just have to put it all together.  Only 5 1/2 more weeks to go!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

six weeks and counting

Well, my race is 6 weeks from tomorrow.  And I feel pretty good.  My workouts this week were a little erratic due to 3 gigs in the same week, but I'm not freaking about it.  I got in an unexpected advanced swim workout on Monday and learned all about the wetsuit.  Wetsuit pickup is Thursday!  I must say I'm not exactly looking forward to squeezing into a rubber suit.  And at some point they make us swim in them in the pool.  Fun, fun, fun!

Today was another bike GTS, although not nearly as long as last week.  For the second day of spring it's still pretty cold for a bike ride.  But I bundled up and headed up to meet the group at Riverside Park.  A few instructions and we headed off to Central Park.  Ultimately I did 2 lower loops, 2 upper loops and two full loops.  An hour and a half and home.  I am really, really, really going to try to get in a run tonight after I get home.  Tomorrow is the Colon Cancer Challenge but I'm only volunteering.   If you're running look for me to be your chip clipper!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

i'm pretty sure i just biked more than four hours...

* photo courtesy of RoBoNC on igougo.com

Okay - things I learned today:

1. When they say the bike workout is an hour and a half, they are LYING.  The "workout" may be 1.5 hours, but by the time you add in travel time it's more like 4HOURS!!!

2. There are literally hundreds of bikers out training on a day like today. 

3. Our coaches are magicians of some sort.  They are able to re-appear at any point even if you never see them pass you.

3.  Seeing roadkill is inevitable.

4.  Your cell phone can freeze.

I left my house at 6:55 am and headed up to Riverside Park at 72nd street.  There were 2 options for GTS today - a beginner workout in Central Park or an intermediate workout across the GWB into NJ. I wasn't sure which one I was going to do - I felt better than the beginner description but a little unsure of the GWB option.  I checked with coach Jay and coach Mike and they pretty much said "go for it."  So I did.  I met up with the intermediate group at Riverside Drive and 72nd and by 7:30 we were off.  (total non-biking/wait time: 10 min)

By 8:05 or so we were at the entrance to the GWB.  A quick 2 min. instruction stop and we were off.  I had run the bridge to NJ last year and the bike was definitely easier.  Except for the hairpin turns when you pray that no one is heading at you from the other direction.  

Another 2 minute instruction break and we headed onto Route 9W.  We were heading for the New Jersey/New York state line.  Hmm....that sounds far.  It was.

I managed to stay apace with a few fellow teammates.  At one point a coach road up alongside me from behind to check in.  He then sprinted on ahead to the next group.  I swear twenty minutes late he came up from behind AGAIN to let me know we were almost there.  I never saw him head back the other way after the first pass!

Now, even though I had told the gig am working on that I wasn't available until 12 today when they hired me (so I wouldn't miss this session), I had planned on getting back to midtown by 11am.  As I came upon the state line around 9:15am I thought perhaps I should turn around and head back.  But as I slowed near the coaches, who were magically waiting at the state line, they yelled out "Easy ride down the hill and stay on the saddle back up."  I felt guilty and just kept going.  Down the hill.  The very long hill.  Too late to change my mind now!

So a short water stop at the bottom of the hill and it was time to climb back up.  I swear I could have run up the hill faster.  It was endless.  Another 5 minute re-group at the state line and it was time to head home.  All the way home...

As long as it seemed to take to get from the bridge to the state line, it seemed ten times longer heading back to the bridge. Road kill seen along the way?  A poor deer and a sad looking raccoon.  And one of the coaches magically appeared at the turn off before the bridge.  Never saw her pass.  How do they do that?   I had a brief stop to pick up the water bottle I dropped while trying to drink and ride and didn't bother to stop again before heading back over the bridge.  

The scariest part was the ramp back down to the Manhattan side.  It is very narrow and there were large groups of bikers heading west as I was heading east.  I swear at one point I was holding on to the bridge railing for dear life while trying not to crash into oncoming bikers or fall over onto the ground completely.  Yikes!

At this point I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make my 11am arrival time at rehearsal but am too cold to stop and pull out my phone.  I've felt it buzz a few times but it's not worth the time waste at this point to pull it out.  I make my way over to the Hudson River path and start the fairly flat journey back downtown.

I realize it is actually 11am when I hit the short but steep hill that leads up into the esplanade at Riverside park.  I figure now is as good a time as any to try to send word that I'm not dead, just slow.  I pull out my Blackberry to see at least one message from rehearsal.  Funny, I can't seem to open it.  Okay, I'll call instead of text.  Funny, it won't let me into the address book.  Funny, it won't let me do anything!  Screw it...just get back on the bike and keep moving towards midtown. (Later at rehearsal it will require 4 battery removals/re-starts to get my phone functioning again.  I'm pretty sure it literally froze.)

I get held up for a brief moment by all the cars heading to drop people off for their cruise ships at the piers in the 50's but by 11:30 I'm finally at my final destination - 45th and 6th.  11:30.  Hmmm.  6:55.  Yowza!  That's more than 4 and a half hours!  And I figure non-saddle time was about 20-25 minutes.  Okay, I'm pretty sure I can handle the ride portion of the triathlon.  I'm going to go MapMyRide right now, but I'm quite certain that was more than 40k! Yay me!

And oh, yeah.....ouch.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

my first brick

Today I did my first "brick."  "What's a brick?" you ask?  Well, it's the workout that prepares you for the actual triathlon - the part where you have to get off your bike after pedaling for quite some time and then run.  (You can also do a swim/bike brick to practice that transition.)   
"Why do they call it a brick?" you inquire further - well.....some people claim that it's because your feet feel like bricks after you get off the bike and try to run.  They might be a little right.  

It's definitely a weird feeling to switch gears after biking.  Today I biked from Riverside park over to Central Park and did one big loop (6miles) and 1 small loop (1.7 miles) and then back to Riverside and 72nd.  We had set ourselves up in a mock transition area and returned to our spots to switch to a 20-30 minute run.  I de-helmeted and grabbed some water and started off on a 10 minute out-and-back.  Of course our route was a hillier section than just along the river.  Since the Wildflower course is notoriously hilly, I better get used to it now.  Two of those and a few extra loops of the small track and we were done.  

So how did it go?  I feel good.  I'm not fast and I definitely need to get my running legs back in shape, but I feel good.  There will be many more bricks over the next 8 weeks.  Many, many more.....

My next challenge? - I'm gonna switch it up and go to the Int./Adv. swim GTS this week.  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

warm enough to forget your hat and not freeze

That's right, it's getting warmer!  Now let's just hope it lasts.  Halfway to the gym tonight I realized that I forgot a hat.  I'm usually too lazy to dry my hair after swimming and just slap a hat on for the walk home.  Tonight, I forgot the hat.  And tonight, it didn't matter!  
And even better than that?  I swam for 45 minutes straight - 15 minutes longer than I intended. Woo hoo!

And in other news -

My pal Maggie is having to switch events.  She was going to be doing the Wildflower 1/2 Ironman but is now going to do the NYC Triathlon.  I'm bummed that we won't be traveling together, but happy that she gets to swim in the Hudson ;)

Eight weeks from today I fly to Monterey!

And my college buddy Katja in Virgina has just signed up with TNT to train for a half marathon!!! I am so excited and proud.  Go Katja!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3/4 of the way there

On the swim that is.  The official distance of my swim in the triathlon will be 1.5km which is .932056788 miles.  Tonight I swam 1000 meters (20 lengths, 10 laps) in 25 minutes at GTS.  Woo hoo!  The goal for the night was only to swim 1/2 mile (804.672 meters).  I swam .621371192 miles!  A lot of silly numbers, I know, but I just like doing the math!  Now if I could just keep the fingers on my right hand closed while swimming....