Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Two Loops

I never considered myself a swimmer, biker or runner; however, I was always athletic. In elementary school I was placed in Boys PE because I was too good to play with the girls (or was that what they just told me because I sometimes had a slight “attitude” problem). Nevertheless, I come from a long line of athletes so I like to think that I am an athlete. Why I chose a sport that involves three disciplines that I never excelled at is still beyond me. Little-by-little though I have been chipping away at each sport. Last week a newbie swimmer at the gym told me I looked awesome in the pool as I easily circled the intermediate lane with two male swimmers. In running I have gone from a 9:30/minute four mile race to a 9:00/minute 9 mile race.

Biking, well biking has eluded me. I know I dragged a bit on getting my bike and now it is catching up on me. I hate getting smoked by every single rider on the Central Park loop. The new shoes made a world of difference but I still have a ways to go. However, yesterday there was another female triathlete (I know she’s a triathlete cause she lives in my building) and I smoked her on the nasty incline at the top of the loop coming down the west side (if you have ever biked or run the loop you know what I am talking about). However, a few minutes after the uphill stretch she smoked me on the downhill. That’s ok. My two loop time is now 51 minutes down from 60 a few weeks ago. Making a little progress…

Monday, March 26, 2007

No ‘More’ For Me – How I Finally Listened to My Body

The last time I posted I was all nervous/excited/scared for the “More Half-Marathon” which I had just signed up for last minute. I knew the distance would be tough but doable. The longest I have ever run was a little over nine miles for the Colon Cancer Challenge. I felt good during that race and was very happy with my time. Also, with NYC marathon dreams dancing in my head I thought this would be great training.

I recently picked up “4 Months to a Four Hour Marathon” at the local library and poured through it in one day. I liked it so much that I got my own copy from amazon the next day. What really resonated with me was how critical it was to rest before a race and rest in general. That is something I have not been doing. I have not taken a real “day off” in weeks opting instead to hit the pool for a short workout or a jog in the park. Big mistake. Also, the few days before the race I was running myself ragged. Staying out late, running all over the city, not taking a much needed nap.

At about 5am the morning of the half marathon my body woke me up. My left knee which flares up every now and gain was sore when I laid on my side. I then had an internal fight with my body. One part of me was saying: Five minutes into the race it will totally ease up. Come on, you can do this. Pain is for sissies. The other part was saying: Is this race worth potentially messing up all of your training? Is this worth missing your training vacation in Kona? For the first time I listened to the “right” side and turned the alarm off and went back to bed. I knew I had made the right decision but it was tearing me up inside. I missed a race! I love races. I am not a quitter. I just have to keep telling myself it was the right decision. Important lesson learned.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Yeah, I Know It’s Been a While

I am sorry about my lack of posting. I bet my three loyal readers are up every night wondering about how my training is going. When I last posted I was gearing up for a super-training weekend and I did not disappoint. With running coach away skiing and almost breaking a rib I had time to concentrate on training and lots of “The Hills,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “Anthony Bourdain” nuggets saved on my DVR and yes, lots and lots of training. How’s that for one disaster of a sentence?

Friday I met with Boris for a swim tune-up which was very much needed. I feel like an actual swimmer when we work together…then I feel like I pile of mush when I drag my sorry butt home. Saturday I was a biking madwoman. First I biked to Toga and got there right when it opened…which was a good thing because all the “Team in Training” mentors decided to bring their mentees there. A side note, Team in Training is awesome and I would have done it for the NYC Tri but it didn’t fit in with my schedule. I really hope to join it and train for the NYC Marathon. I finally got real biking shoes for my bike. For now I am using mountain bike cleats because I am a clumsy fool who can barely walk without doing damage to myself. Let’s not even talk about how I walked into a table at Barney’s last week….yep, I still have the bruise from that one. Eventually I will upgrade to look cleats. Baby steps, Baby steps.

Armed with my super cleats I set out for an hour and a half ride in the park and what do you know…the cleats made me super fast. No more grannies on schwinns passing me by! Locked up the bike at home (how I love living half a block from the park) and then jogged across the park to Road Runners to pick up my race crap.

Sunday was the Colon Cancer Challenge. I ran the 15k which is 9.3 miles for those of you that don’t know. I ran it in about 1:30. I was very pleased with that….and also very sore the next day.
Last week my training left much to be desired. Between numerous client dinners, a colleague in from London and a massive snow storm I left maybe one or two workouts out. But not much I could do about it. I am looking forward to an awesome week of training culminating in the More Half-Marathon on Sunday. Deathwish meet Stacey, Stacey meet Deathwish…you two are going to become very good friends.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

80 Laps in 50 minutes

With Running Coach out of town this weekend I decided that it would be great to catch up with my swim coach for a lesson. Actually, my swim coach is a real coach. Boris is the real freaking deal. He is an accomplished triathlete as well as a former member of the Russian swim team. I cannot even begin to explain how lucky I am to get time with Boris and how much he has improved my stroke. Unfortunately, I have only been hitting the pool about once a week. That’s unacceptable for Boris. He thinks on my day off I should be hitting the pool. In anticipation for my lesson tomorrow I decided to forgo the Wednesday bike session (actually will do it on my day off, today) and hit the pool. Also, you can’t swim on Tuesdays/Thursdays at Reebok. That’s when the jazzercise/fatty/water aerobics class takes place…don’t even get me started. Let me just say this: if you are wearing a shower cap how can it be considered exercise?When I got to the pool last night it wasn’t that crowded. I was able to get the single private lane and for some reason no one kicked me out even though I was way over the 30 minute time limit. I started off with 250 yards free swim. Took a minute break then another 250 yards. Then I did 250 yards of drills (catch up, pull buoy, kickboard). The last 250 was a full on sprint. I was so tired I couldn’t even walk straight. I headed over to running coach’s apartment and we picked up some Chipotle for dinner. I took it down like I had never seen food before and like Chipotle is actually good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Running Coach Will Go Down!

A popular character on this blog has been Matt, aka Running Coach. Running Coach works very, very hard and because of that (and a love of the cleverly named cuisine of “carnival food”) he does not get out all that often to enjoy a good run. This past weekend I nearly killed Running Coach. On Saturday after I had already biked for an hour and spent another hour at the gym lifting with Alex I convinced Running Coach to go biking with me. We made it one loop around Central Park and then Running Coach started to complain. We went back home and ordered wings while UCLA’s pathetic performance against the Huskies nearly killed me.

After a fun night drinking I was dealt the dubious task of getting Running Coach out of bed to go well running. It was a miracle that I got him out of the apartment. We made a deal that if he beat me in his still inebriated state I would: 1) have to buy breakfast; and 2) give him a back massage. I have been running a lot lately and thought I had a decent shot. All during the run I kept up pretty well. Let me just say that few months ago I could have never kept up with Running Coach, even if he was running while drinking a beer. We started on the bottom loop and Running Coach was the one this time asking for breaks. With about a quarter mile left to go we threw down the gauntlet…this would determine the winner. I thought I had a pretty good shot. After about 20 yards I pulled to an early lead and then we hit the hill, the last painful 20 yards to the run. I tried to draft him and fake complained that I couldn’t do it all while plotting my move. Little did I know that Running Coach was totally onto me. When he got about 6 feet ahead I dropped the bomb and came out of nowhere. But unfortunately my best was not good enough as Running Coach beat me by just a few feet. He may have won the race but I killed him for the rest of the day.

*The picture above is not of us….I just liked it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Triathlon Beauty Tips

I really love having long hair but since I have started training I have had to cut my hair a few times due to damage caused by swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool. I love swimming but seriously it has done a number on my hair. Last time I was in LA getting my hair cut I told Nobu (my hairstylist extraordinaire) about this problem. He told me he has lots of clients who swim and it really helps if you put baby oil on the ends before.

Thursday night I had a party to go to with my sister. Since it wouldn’t be starting until late and since I had plans on Friday I was forced to move my swim to Thursday. This meant packing all my belongings for the next few days into my ugly Asics gym bag (I purposely bought an ugly bag so no one would steal it). I decided to take Nobu’s advice before my swim and carefully coated my ends with baby oil. Swim went fine and I showered at the gym to save time. However, when I was blow drying my hair I noticed that it wasn’t drying. Actually, it only looked wet, the truth was that the oil was still on my hair and wouldn’t come off. So I ran to the bathroom and tried to wet it again – No Luck. Already running massively later for my party I threw it into a bun as there was nothing else I could do. The oil finally came out after about another two shampoos. Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a triathlete. But seriously, does anyone out there have any good tips on this one???

Thursday, March 1, 2007

To the Left

I just can’t seem to get that darn song out of my head. I am not a huge Beyonce fan. Sure, she has a good voice and I even saw her at my gym once logging hours on the stairmill (the stairway to hell as I like to call it). But this song just annoys me to no end. Last week during spinning the instructor put it on during the toughest part of the workout. This really seemed to bother me cause: 1) Beyonce does not inspire me; and 2) at this point in the workout we were turning resistance up, or to the right, not to the left. I am usually not so anal but the fact that we were turning left and Beyonce was fighting with us to turn it the other way was so distracting.

Then on Saturday I had my second road runners’ race in Central Park. Fortunately, it was not as cold as the last time when the water completely froze. I started off slow because I was battling to get out of the pack. After about the first mile I really picked up the pace. Then the volunteers kept yelling at us to keep "to the left." Man, it really pissed me off cause then I had that song in my head the entire race. However, I was really happy with my time. I averaged an 8:34 minute mile over four miles which is significantly better than my last time of 9:30 per mile. Maybe there is something to Beyonce…