Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm done with coffee.

It's been a viscious cycle. Insomnia, groggy mornings, coffee, more insomnia. This week, after all the chaos, I was awake at 2AM every night, and 2 and 4AM a couple of nights. I took one Tylenol PM on Thursday night, but was so groggy, I couldn't concentrate, and left work early. I needed more coffee too ---- the BIG one.

I've slept better this weekend, but I've still needed the coffee. And the Tylenol PM.

This morning in my LSD run, it all caught up with me. I wasn't sure how far I'd go, somewhere between 6 and 8, and I might try 10 if I was really feeling terrific. Since I was going slow, I figured I'd do 9/1, instead of the 5/1s I've been doing on my shorter runs. I felt pretty good for the first 10 minutes, and didn't take my first walk break. At about 15 minutes, I started to feel kind of funky. OK, I had on an extra layer, so I hid behind some bushes and ditched the underneath shirt. Much better. Another 5 minutes and I'm not great again. Tired, although my legs feel ok. But the sun is warm, the views and gorgeous, and the air is so clear I can see all the way to Marblehead. How bad could it be?

I keep on the 9/1 pace and eventually reach Sandy Beach, the "stop here or try for 10 point." But no way I was up for 10. I stopped my watch and stretched out on the warm rocks for a few minutes, drinking my water. After a brief rest, I walked to the end of the beach parking lot where I would rejoin the road and start my run home. Still not feeling like I should, I looked down at my watch and realized my HR was 10-15 beats higher than it should be, for walking. Ahhhhhhh, a lightbulb clicked ON. The caffeine, the tylenol, my lack of sleep, and I was probably a little dehydrated. It all made sense. No wonder I felt yucky.

I did eventually finish 7 miles, but I felt pretty wrecked when I was done. My average HR for the run was 10 points higher than typical for LSD, even with walking every hill, and stopping when my HR hit 170 on the flats (yes, running as slowly as I could muster, my HR was still in the upper 160s, instead of the 145-150 I like to see).

This routine is bad for me, so in accord with my 2006 motto, I'm done with the coffee. COLD TURKEY. It shouldn't be hard, except for the caffeine withdrawal I know I'll have for a while. I actually prefer tea, but it just hasn't been cutting it for an AM beverage this month. Plus, I like my tea sweetish (which is a bad habit), but I much prefer coffee UNsweet. No more sleep aids, either. I'll just focus on training to keep me worn out and sleeping well. I sure *don't* want to feel like this again!

Friday, April 28, 2006


More cribbed material, but also good stuff. The original post was relating to Masters swimming, but it also applies to triathlon. Consistency *has* been the bane of my existence lately. As I told my coach the other night, I can out together 4 or 5 good solid days of training, but then I have 4 or 5 days in a row of little or no effort. Putting it all together is what I'm trying to do. My "A" race is in July (Musselman), and I'd like to have one earlier race under my belt first (Webster Lake, in June), where I raced hard, and had solid training to rely on.

Consistency is the act of often showing up to train and rarely missing training sessions.

Consistency goes beyond just showing up, it also flows into what you do in training once you show up.

Consistency means training focused, hard and smart. You do what you need to do how you need to do it when you need to do it.

It means you manage your energy well during the training sessions. Coaches have reasons they assign particular sets (or other training tasks).

Consistency means giving your all in training when that's what you'resupposed to do.

Consistency means setting high standards and striving to accomplish them, especially when you don't feel like it or when you're having an"off" day.

Consistently splitting your practice swims (or training sessions) correctly, and consistenty using proper form

Consistency is being mentally tough. Consistently stepping up. Consistently redefining your limits. Consistently discovering what you are capable of.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

20 Reasons

Clipped from another blog: (

20 Reasons to Do Triathlons

1. You Will Lose Weight
2. You Will Look and Feel Years Younger
3. You Will Have More Energy
4. You Will Get More Out of Your Workouts
5. You Will Injury-Proof Your Body
6. You Will Improve Your Health
7. You Will Live Longer
8. You Will Be More Productive
9. You Will Learn to Handle Stress More Effectively
10. You Will Build Rock-Solid Self-Confidence
11. Your Mood Will Improve
12. Your Motivation to Exercise Will Soar
13. You Will Learn to Strengthen Your Weaknesses
14. You Get to Rub Shoulders with the Best Athletes in the World
15. You Will Join the Fitness Elite
16. You Will Have an Increased Sense of Purpose in Your Life
17. You Will Become the Best You That You Can Be
18. You Will Be a Hero to Your Kids
19. You Will Motivate and Inspire Those around You
20. You Will Set Other Positive Things in Motion--Things You Never Imagined.

So, what are *your* reasons?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's all about the bike (at least for this week).

I have been incredibly lax about my bike training, even now that spring (such as it is in cold, grey, windy, eastern New England) has arrived. Even sitting on my seat HURTS, especially the first 15 mins or so, and I've logged only a measly 58.6 miles so far this year.

My challenge this week is to see how much I can increase that mileage. Indoor, ourdoor, whatever it takes to just get time on the bike, and increase my comfort and confidence with my seat, hands, position, and balance.

So far, I've managed two short rides Monday night and Tuesday am. I should be able to keep that up until at least Friday am, when I'm scheduled to head out of town for the weekend. I'll take the bike to the shop on my way out -- it definitely needs a tune up.

Bad days

These are not my words, but they sure are appropriate for the year I'm having, and the weekend I just had. May tomorrow be a *much* better day!

April 24, 2006/Finding The Gift/Bad Days

We all have days from time to time when it feels like the world is against us or that the chaos we are experiencing will never end. One negative circumstance seems to lead to another. You may wonder, on a bad day, whether anything in your life will ever go right again. But a bad day, like any other day, can be a gift. Having a bad day can show you that it is time to slow down, change course, or lighten up. A bad day can help you glean wisdom you might otherwise have overlooked or discounted. Bad days can certainly cause you to experience uncomfortable feelings you would prefer to avoid, yet a bad day may also give you a potent means to learn about yourself. You may consider a bad day to be one where you've missing an important meeting because your car stalled, the dryer broke, and you received a piece of very bad news earlier in the morning. Multiple misfortunes that take place one after the other can leave us feeling vulnerable and intensely cognizant of our fragility. But bad days can only have a long-term negative effect on us if we let them. It is better to ask yourself what you can learn from these kinds of days. The state of your bad day may be an indicator that you need to stay in and hibernate or let go of your growing negativity. Bad days contribute to the people we become. Though we may feel discouraged and distressed on our bad days, a bad day can teach us patience and perseverance. It is important to remember that your attitude drives your destiny and that one negative experience does not have to be the beginning of an ongoing stroke of bad luck. A bad day is memorable because it is one day among many good days - otherwise, we wouldn't even bother to acknowledge it as a bad day. Know too, that everybody has bad days, you are not alone, the world is not against you. Tomorrow is guaranteed to be a brighter day.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Totally whacked out scale.

I am *not* one of those people who weighs every day (usually). But since part of this journey is about losing weight, a reliable scale is a necessary tool. Unfortunately, my WW scale has been a tad inconsistent lately, with my reported weight swinging as much as 8-10 pounds. Today, it was absolutely possessed. My weights went: X, X+6, X+12, X+4, X+13, X+1. Think I need a new one?

Anybody have a recommendation? I'm not going to spend $120 bucks on a Tanita labelled "Ironman," but is there a more reasonable Tanita out there, which will fit the bill, and get me reliable weekly measurements of weight and body fat? And does "athlete" mode matter? Or am I still too heavy for it to make one bit of difference for me.

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts. Surely, there are some scale-obsessed triathletes out there :-)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Just because its there doesn't mean I have to eat it.

I know this fact to be true, but I grew up in a "clean plate" family, and I've always been a clean plate kid. Whether I was hungry or not, I almost always finished everything, especially if it tasted good.

As part of trying to eat more consciously, I try to evaluate my fullness level with every single bite. Eating lunch today, I filled up quickly on the hummus and veggie pita I was eating. But there was still hummus left in the container, and an almost empty box of reduced fat Triscuits in my desk drawer. What a perfect combo -- I'll scoop the hummus out with the Triscuits, and finish them both. I *love* Triscuits and hummus. Its become one of my all time favorite combos. But after a few bites, I realized that I really wasn't hungry. And then it hit me, I didn't need to finish the hummus, just because it was there and the container was almost empty. Same for the Triscuits.

So I dropped the rest of the hummus in the trash (there really wasn't much left), and put the cracker box back in my desk drawer.

A small victory today.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A nice run tonight.

Gorgeous evening with warm sun and a cool steady breeze. The wind kicked up enough waves so there were packs of surfers out and about, and that slight vapor/fog, right along the beach. I ran at least 3, and I think it may have been a tad longer. With a new strategy (5 minute warm up, then run 5/walk 1, slowly inceasing the intensity and speed of the run portion), I managed somewhere between a 12:42 and a 13:30 pace. That includes a 7-8 minute walk portion after the halfway point, where I had to make an off-road construction detour. Sub-13 would be super for me, so I'm going to try that same strategy again in my next run. I was pretty wiped by the last 5 minute section, so I think I was probably broke my standard 13-minute-mile. Next time, I'll try a route without a detour, where I'm more sure of the distance.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aging up.

This morning I was in the grocery store with my sister and noticed the date hanging prominently on the wall. 4/17/06. Which means in precisely 4 months, I turn 4, er, four, um, well, 38+2. As a triathlete however, I hit that number on 1/1/06, because of a new USA Triathlon rule. Check out your latest USAT membership card which states: "effective January 1, 2006, athletes will compete in the age group corresponding to their age on December 31 of the event year." What, we're race horses now?

I *protest!!* I am neither a thoroughbred, nor a 40-something. Not yet anyway.

Well, as Mom often says, "it's better than the alternative." For me, that's not just age, but the heavier, slower, less active, unhealthier person I was in my 30s. So maybe the 40s *won't* be so bad, after all.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Race Report: The Bunny Boogie

I've done eight or so races now (2 tris and 6 road races) so I consider myself a novice, rather than an absolute beginner. But oddly enough, I seem to get more nervous before a race these days, rather than less. I was calmest before my first tri (which wasn't my first race). That calmness paid off, as I was able to swim several minutes faster than I planned, and get to the bikes ahead of many in my rack. These days though, when the gun goes off, my heart starts to race and that just seems to kill my race plan. When you feel awful in the first 10 minutes, its tough to recover.

Yesterday morning at the Bunny Boogie (Pear Tree Point, Darien, CT), that's exactly what happened. The women start 2:30 ahead of the men, so I lined up at the back of the small pack and waited. I was nicely warmed up on a cool foggy April morning and ready to run. The horn sounded and off we went. I knew I'd be at the back immediately. It was a small group of mostly local runners, and on a holiday weekend, you knew it would be hard core. I heard the horn for the men at 2:35 or so, and within another couple of minutes the leaders passed me. For the rest of the first half of the first lap, the pack pulled ahead of me and there were only a few runners left in sight. I managed a steady pace for the first 15 minutes, but I could feel my heart thumping along at at about 15 minutes in (just about finished the first of 2 1.5 mile laps), I started to feel nauseated, and my legs felt like I was running in sand. I thought water might help, but for such a short race, I wasn't carrying any. Time to stop and walk a bit.

Just after I slowed down, the ladies winner flew by, well ahead of anyone. A few beats later, the two lead men headed for the finish schute, with lady #2 on their heels. There you have it, lapped by the winners, before I'd even finished my first lap. As I passed the finish, I thought how easy it would be to just stop and head for my car, without even finishing. But slow as I may be, I'm not a quitter, and I need to work on my mental toughness anyway.

I dropped my long sleeved top on a fence post just past the finish and headed up the one long hill on the course. As I reached the top of the hill, the ladies #2 finisher raced past me, taking another loop. She yelled encouragement to me, and I yelled back "Didn't you just finish?" She acknowledged that she had, then told me to keep on running, and no matter how slow I felt, at least I was out on the course trying. How we got through all this talk as she passed me, I don't know. She must have slowed down to talk to me.

Soon after, the last handful of male runners behind me passed by, and I was alone on the course.

Despite my slowness, I've yet to be the last runner on the course, and I knew it had to happen some time. I didn't think it would be today, I had plans to run hard and really feel the hurt at this race, but I just couldn't push harder than I did. As I made the last major turn and headed towards the last half mile and the finish, I started to feel sorry for myself. Damn legs, damn feet, damn extra pounds. I slowed to a walk again, when I heard some feet behind me. I looked around, and there was one last man behind me, doing a walk/run combo. We chatted for a few strides and then he stepped on his accelerator and passed me. At that instant, I realized that *thinking* I was last was much tougher than actually being last. I started to run again and made it to the finish with enough left for a little kick.

43:45 for a 14+ pace. Sheesh.

Despite the less than stellar race, it was a lovely course and I'd definitely go back and run those loops again. The other runners were terrific too. Lots of folks (including the official timers) waited around for me to finish, and cheered me as I came in. One of the runners (who turns out to be a triathlete) even went out and ran in with me for the last few hundred yards, encouraging me at every step.

So, I have my slow race of the season. Now its time to start knocking off some time, and work towards my PR race.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Without meaning to

I ate "veggie" all day yesterday.

But I still could have had more steak. Hmmmmmmmmm, beef (please don't hate me, Misty ;-)).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sometimes you just need a good steak.

Tuesday is typically veggie day. As is Friday, and I've been very good and very loyal to that plan. But I am not a vegetarian -- I'm just trying to learn to make veggies a higher priority in my personal food chain, and learn different ways to eat them.

I ate no meat all day. Oatmeal, skim milk, fruit, ricotta, some hummus, a veggie sausage. I even had a lovely sweet tater/black bean tortilla casserole in the fridge to eat tonight. But last night I dreamt about steak. It was one of the most vivid dreams I can remember, and certainly one of the only one about food that I recall. I woke up twice, at midnight and 2 AM, hungry, probably not having eaten quite enough after my intervals workout. And I dreamt of a thick t-bone, coated in fresh parsley, garlic, and cracked pepper, grilled until medium rare.

I stopped at the grocery after work to grab some fruit and more veggies, and when I walked past the meat counter, there it was. A lovely little organically grown piece of beef, 9oz of t-bone, begging to come home with me. I went into the basket. "I'll cook it for dinner tomorrow, I said to myself." I added the eggs, reduced fat cheddar, and thought about how hungry I was. I added a bottle of Shiraz. "Shiraz would be fun with sweet potatoes and the chile and cumin flavors," I thought. Uhuh, sure. As I walked from the store to my car, my foot cramped, and it got worse as I drove home. After I took the bags in I limped out to the garden where I found a few early sprigs of parsley. I cut some off, chopped it roughly, added a drop of olive oil, chopped garlic, and fresh ground pepper and then spread it over the meat. I took down the grill pan, and as I set it on the flame, my foot miraculously stopped hurting.

Sometimes, you just need a good steak. And man, was it fabu.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Intervals, or, hitting the "puke zone"

Ok, I confess, I'm a slow runner. My body just wasn't made to go quickly, no matter how hard I try. I'm too big, too heavy, to un-aerodynamic to create much speed. It's hard to pick my feet up quickly, or very high.

But I do try. My "coach" likes to remind me that occasional speed workouts are good for the soul. Or is that sole?

So tonight after work I hit the track for my first real speed workout of the year. I think I've done some 220 repeats earlier, but I vaguely remember quitting after only a few. It just hurt too much. Tonight, I didn't quit. And no, it wasn't a killer workout compared to some folks, but this is the Land of No Comparison, remember? It was a toughy for me, I pushed myself, and that's all that matters.

Can some helpful runner, tri-er, overachiever remind me of why I'm doing these things?

The workout:
1x880 warm up
8x440 (alternating "fast" and "slow")
1x880 cool down

3 miles. I only walked the last "slow" lap, and never quit on any of the "fast" laps. And yes, it was in the back of my throat. Twice.

More uncertainty.

That seems to be the theme of this year. Y'all know I'm still job hunting. Well, I had found something temp, but long-term, with the possibility of becoming permanent. The partner I was working for liked me, I liked him, and I also liked the rest of the firm and LOVED the 25 minute commute. Well, on Friday, that partner gave the firm his notice, and as a result I am out of work again on this Friday (he leaves, the work leaves, the perm position disappears like a snowball on a hot stove). Sheesh, I can't seem to get a break.

So, my plan is to keep my head down, get my work done. Both at the office and here at home.

The week's schedule:
MON: 3 mile run + track intervals
TUES:Yoga + trainer ride (10-15mi)
WED: Swim, 1400
THURS: Trainer + run brick (5-2) or split workout if I feel good
FRI: Travel day - rest
SAT: Bunny Boogie 5K!
SUN: Easter - hope to get in a walk or maybe even a swim if the Stamford Y is open.

And on a slightly unrelated note, the Sox swept the Os this weekend. And I didn't get to see one bit of it. Poor Os, I wish they had managed a win or two. I think this is going to be a long season for my boys. On the other hand, its the Sox's best start since the early '90s. Take that, Evil Empire!

Friday, April 07, 2006


I think I'm having delayed-reaction to time change exhaustion. Or TOM. Or trying to go from practically zero to 60 in 2 weeks.

Anyway, I've missed a couple of workouts, but can still get good stuff out of the week, before it ends.

In the meantime, can someone pass the coffee IV and something to help me sleep a little better? I'd be greatful.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Schilling (3-0 in six openers, only one with Boston) wore a cap with the inscription ''whatever it takes," under the bill. What it took on this day was 117 pitches, 79 for strikes and very few of them split-fingered fastballs. He walked only one batter.

--- From today's

WHATEVER IT TAKES, to get it done, I'm doing it too.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Build week

Last week I accomplished:

Swim (1x): 1300 m
Bike (1x): 10 mi
Run (2x): 10 mi
Weights (1x): 30 mins
Yoga (1x): 45 mins

This week, I'm planning:

Mon: Yoga, 45 mins+ done 60 mins
Tues: Run, 3 mi done 3.5 mi
Wed: Gym after work -- indoor bike & weights
Thurs: AM swim, 1400 m
Fri: Weights or Yoga
Sat: Long run, 6-8 mi
Sun: Bike, 10-15 mi

I had planned on a swim this morning, but the time change really threw me for a loop, and I decided on a little more sleep. I'd rather modify my workouts for a day or two and get caught up fast, instead of dragging the entire week -- which is what usually happens. My sleep is *just* getting better again, after months of waking at 2 AM, so I'm being a tad protective of it. It's astonishing how much better my day goes, if I've had a decent sleep!

And hey, Happy Opening Day, too!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

On a roll

Heading out for a long run shortly, which will be my 6th training session of the week. A long bike ride tomorrow, and I'm almost at "full strength," although I do need to extend the length of my workouts a bit. I'd like to do 2x/week run (1 brick, 1 long), 2x/week bike (1 brick, 1 long), 2x/week swim, 2x/week yoga & strength. That should fill 6 days, with one brick, and one day doubling up with strength, and one day all yoga. Eventually I'm going to have to add a speed running day, but that will come later when I have a more established routine.

So it's *progress* and a plan, and that feels good!

So does the warm air and the bright sun. Spring is finally here!!!