Weekly Recap (4/10-4/16)

Monday: Swim (2550 yards); Run (45 minutes)
The swim set at Masters was complicated, so I’m not going to write it out. It was a decently hard work out. The set I was supposed to do was much too hard, so I probably didn’t push myself to the limit. It’s hard to really leave it all out there when you know that, even if you do, you won’t hit the times you are “supposed” to. The consensus of the group was that the set, as written/interpreted, was impossible, so Max the Swim Coach is probably going to tweak it and try it out on us again in a few weeks.

After work, I decided to go run for 45 minutes instead of 30. I’ve reacclimated to running, and now I need to regain some of that fitness that I lost over the winter. The run felt pretty solid, and adding the extra 15 minutes didn’t feel burdensome at all. This run was pretty flat and easy. I’m hoping to add in a hillier, longer route next week when my training hours increase.

Tuesday: Bike (1 hour); Lift 30 minutes
I rode into work and then lifted before heading into the office. I’ve really been trying to focus on doing the lifts the way they are supposed to be done.

4 x 6 dumbbell squats (25 lbs)
4 x 8 hamstring curls, each leg (with elastic band)
3 x 6 dumbbell deadlifts (25 lbs)
4 x 8 swim pull, each arm (with elastic band)
3 x 8 lateral arm raises (8 lbs)

To be honest, I’m lifting weights because outside sources advised me to. I’m not entirely convinced lifting will make me a better triathlete at my current stage. I feel like at this stage, maybe I just need more swimming/cycling/running. But I’m giving it a real shot. If nothing else, I’ll get a little stronger and not feel like such a weakling.

After work, I headed home on my bike.  The ride to and from work is interesting. It’s fairly uphill on the way in, and I wear a bag with my clothes and lunch in it (and this time, an extra pair of clothes/shoes to lift in). It’s easily an extra 10-15 pounds or so. Since my weight tends to be pretty steady (+/- five pounds or so), I never really considered how much extra weight affects climbing on the bike. It makes me want to be a little more particular in what I eat. The ride home after work is as nice as the ride in is obnoxious. I love knowing I’m in pleasant ride home after a long day and not a long, arduous one.

Wednesday: Run (60 minutes)
In the morning, I drove over to Rob’s neck of the woods and parked in front of his house. Then I ran to work from there. It actually ends up being a success all around. My commute is a few miles shorter (saving me some gas money), and it makes my run(s) fit into my day more seamlessly. After work, I run to Rob’s place, spend the evening with him, and then drive back to my place. The run in was, I’ll admit, pretty miserable. My legs were heavy because it was morning. The run is almost entirely uphill with an average grade of 3.2%. It was a beautiful morning, but I opted to run in shorts and a tank top, even though it wasn’t even 50° outside. So it was a bit chilly as well. Nevertheless, I like running into work. Starting my day with a run (especially on cool spring mornings) is refreshing. The run home was really my first warm run of the year.  At 72°, it was just warm enough to make it uncomfortable. I also did some strides

Thursday: Swim (3000 yards); Weights (30 minutes)
I was the only person at Masters this morning, which meant very little waiting around and thus a pretty long workout:

500 swim
300 kick
4 x 50 head up
4 x 25 eyes closed
100-400 pyramid (up and down)
100 easy
4 x 50 streamline off the wall

Since I was the only one there, I was able to get a good amount of feedback from Max. My catch (which has been my focus the last month or so) is looking much better. I still need to work on hip rotation and a strong kick (which I think are related). He also helped me out with my push off the wall which needs some pretty serious work.

After work, I headed to the office gym to do some lifting. Ugh, I’m so weak. My lack of power on the bike is starting to make a lot of sense.

4 x 6 squat (25 lb dumbbells)
4 x 10 hamstring curls (with elastic band)
3 x 6 one leg squats, each leg (10 lb dumbbells)
4 x 8 swim pull, each arm (with elastic band)
3 x 8 lateral arm raises (8 lb dumbbells)
2 x 10 single leg deadlifts, each leg (body weight)

My legs were pretty tired after lifting and were stiff the next day, so I know I got a good workout. For some reason, I have confidence that running more will make me faster, but I lack the confidence that lifting more will actually make me stronger. I just have to trust the process (oh, and logic, and what every knowledgeable person has said ever).

Friday: Rest
Rest day. I enjoyed it.

Saturday: Bike (2 hours)
For my bike ride, I rode a familiar route–out to the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and back. It was actually quite chilly, so any canyons were off the table because of how cold it is to descend in chilly weather. I felt good during the ride, but I was surprisingly wiped out afterwards. I hate the little reminders that I’m really not in great shape right now, but it is what it is. I needed the break I took this winter.

So I didn’t make it *up* Big Cottonwood Canyon, but this is what I would have seen if I had.

Sunday: Bike (45 minutes)
I went out on a short bike ride on Sunday afternoon. The weather was beautiful, and it was nice to get out for a quick spin.


So… now what?

Usually, I’m weighed down by a slight feeling ennui after a race.  I don’t think that any one race (regardless of the outcome) can live up to the months put into training.  So, rather than spend a few days basking in the glory of having done a thing and having managed to fool those around me into thinking I’m a capable adult (with hobbies!), I tend to shrug and say, “Well… now what?”

Don’t get me wrong—it’s been great to be a “real person” again for a few days.  On Sunday morning, I was able to go out for breakfast with Rob because I didn’t have to do a long run or ride before church.  We were able to go to his mom’s house last night without me considering what my workout would be the next morning.  But as much as I enjoy the physical break (and trust me—I do!), I never quite know how to deal with the mental break.  Being someone who has always gained a lot of satisfaction from working towards goals, this post-achievement ennui is familiar territory to me.  I first remember the feeling after winning State track my sophomore year.  I also felt this way after finishing my thesis, paying off my school loans, and getting a promotion.  I suppose this is mostly positive because it helps me continue to take deliberate steps towards bettering myself.  I’m pretty sure it also makes me annoying to live with, but you’ll have to get testimonials on that.

Anyway, this love of goals gets me thinking about what I want to do next triathlon-wise very early (despite being a pretty average triathlete).  So I’ve got my course plotted for my “pre-Ironman training” training.  There are several things I’d like to accomplish before I officially start my training plan in April.

  • Climb Big Cottonwood Canyon—I want to spend the rest of the summer really focusing on getting some miles in on the bike. It’s hard to ride in the winter (especially for someone who hates anything resembling a stationary bike), so I want to take advantage of the warm summer and beautiful fall in Salt Lake City.  Big Cottonwood Canyon is not the hardest climb around (not by a long shot), but it will be the hardest climb I’ve ever done.  I climbed Bogus Basin once when I was still in Boise, but this is longer and has a slightly steeper grade.  This will be documented when it happens because I’ve been eyeing this climb for a year.
  • Start swimming with a Masters team—I know that there is a Masters group that meets at my pool. I know this because I see them all the time and very often swim a few lanes down from them.  I know a lot of them are triathletes because I’ve overhead them chatting with each other while I stand off to the side, awkwardly listening in and wishing I knew how to be social.  I suppose this one is a two-pronged goal: start taking swimming more seriously and try to actually maybe even make friends after living in this city for eight months.
  • Train for a marathon—This is my loftiest goal. Despite being a “runner,” I am more afraid of the marathon portion of the Ironman than I am the other two legs put together.  I’m a very comfortable swimmer (comfortable ≠ fast), and I’ve had no problem doing the few two miles swim workouts I’ve done or swimming fairly long distances in the open water.  I know I’ll be able to work up to a respectable, not-too-painful 2.4 miles swim if I just follow my training plan.  I’ve done two centuries (100 mile rides) on the bike, so I know that I can bike the 112 miles.  But my longest run ever tops out at about 14 miles.  That’s still 12 miles short of a marathon distance.  So the running leg of the Ironman basically terrifies me.  I’ve found what looks like a good training plan online that only has you run three days a week and builds in 2-3 days a week of the cross-training of your choice.  Perfect for maintaining swim fitness and fitting in a bike ride on a particularly warm winter day.  I don’t plan on running an “official” marathon as a culmination to my training, but I may do a 26.2 mile training run in place of a race, just so I have confidence that I can, in fact, move my slow little legs that entire distance.

Oh, and I realized that a common denominator among those women with perfect post-triathlon hair was that their hair was braided.  So I tried that out for myself during my swim today.  Somehow, I don’t think the braid-technique has the desired effect on me.