Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pool Running

So I have been a blog slacker- mostly because I have been insanely busy, and feel guilty when I am not working and not working out. As additional evidence, my sister's socks have not progressed since the last image, and her visit is this coming weekend. Hopefully I can find a few hours this week to finish them up!

In the meantime, since the snow, I learned that lunges and squats were not a good thing to do when one has Achilles' tendinitis, and the creaking in my ankle came back. Realizing this was a mistake that set me back, I have been even more careful with my ankle since then. I visited the doctor yesterday, and he said it was healing nicely, and wants to see me again next month. So keep fingers crossed that the healing process continues and I don't do anything foolish to set me back again! I have only run up to 30 minutes though, without noticing the tendon, but at least it is now a dull ache whenever I feel it instead of the sharp pain I had a month or so ago.

Other than the short runs I am thankfully allowed to do to keep me feeling like the half marathon in May could be a possibility, I have been keeping up with my longer running endurance and speed work with pool running. Now, pool running is not the most fun thing in the world, but I am aware that it is my only option to keep in half marathon training shape, so I'm going with it. To be fair, it is not as awful as I had anticipated, which was quite a relief since it is on my schedule 2x a week now. I bought waterproof headphones, and use my old ipod nano in a ziplog bag, safely stowed in between 2 swim caps, to keep me interested during the long slow half laps in the pool. For those that aren't familiar, pool running is done by wearing a floaty waistband and hanging out in the deep end of the pool where your feet can't touch the ground, and thus there is no impact. Pool running is very slow- in fact, I believe some people don't even move (I think it depends on your stride length). I usually get to the center of the pool and back (25yd total) in about 4-6 min, depending on my speed. I keep myself interested by singing along to my ipod and doing cadence checks at least once per lap. The "long runs" are more difficult to get through than my weekly speed work- at least doing a combination of hard fast strides followed by an easy recovery helps make little goals! I do seriously miss my long Saturday runs with Mo, but I just have to keep telling myself that I am going to be way better off if I continue to take care of my ankle and take it easy! As an aside, I learned what too much water time can do to your fingernails- they are incredibly frail right now and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on nail hardeners yesterday in order to get them back into shape!

Keeping with my thought of incorporating some strength and core during the non-racing season, Mo and I have been doing slow short (up to 30 min or whenever my ankle hurts) runs on Tuesday nights followed by strength (upper body only for me) and core. Having a workout buddy for this helps me actually do the exercises, so I am hoping to keep this up for a little while...I *think* things are getting easier... :)

Swimming is on the upswing for me. After my basically almost open water swimming experience earlier this month where my lane partner was creating a whirlpool, I have had a few much more pleasant experiences. I have been doing longer sets, and surprisingly, not getting too bored. I am certainly not moving super quickly, but I have been feeling fairly confident and satisfied with my last few swims.

The bike is getting a little better too. After our FTP test (crazy all out 20 min where your heart rate and wattages are monitored in order to give you ideas of your wattages for different zone levels of working out) in which I performed fairly badly (at least compared to the super bikers in our group) I have set my bar a little lower. Instead of keeping up with them, I have been adjusting my watts to my personal level. It may be low now, but I am sure that if I keep working at it, I have to improve. And my attitude has transformed- now instead of being so down on myself for not keeping up with others, I have adjusted my thought process and understand that for now, I am only competing with myself, and I need to concentrate on pushing my own personal limits, not those of my fellow morning bikers. I'm not doing the HIM to win, I'm doing it to complete a goal for myself, and I have to keep that in perspective or else this entire training season could be a lot harder than it needs to be.

Things seem to be on the upswing, and despite my pesky ankle, I feel like I am in a much better workout place than I was about a month ago when I felt like I was struggling with everything. I am finally getting back into the workout swing, and I am glad for that. Now if only spring would come whisk away the cold and snowy weather....

Sunday, February 6, 2011


So one highlight of this past week was that we had a snowday! So exciting- a day home from work where I mostly was responsible for... knitting. : ) Oh, and digging out my car...

I decided, though, to also try to get back into some strength and core work, since the Y was closed anyway... So after arriving home from work early on Tuesday night, I did my officemate's pilates video. And yes, since I am so bad at pilates, it was really hard, but I'm going to try to give it another go this week. Wednesday was an official snow day, so I went through the strength exercises we got in our tri group last year and in our run group this year. They mainly involved squats and lunges, crunches on the ball, and some arm weights and stuff. Unfortunately I can't find my I was resigned to a bag of flour and a bag of sugar (which unfortunately were different weights, so I switched halfway through). Not ideal, but better than nothing...guess I need to find where I put these weights! I remember when these strength and core exercises were getting easier and that is not the case now. I have read a lot of blog posts about people working on core and strength during the non racing season, and I really want to try to get into that a little. In run clinic in the summer, we did these kinds of exercises every other week, and I could really tell that they started to get easier, but I feel back at square one now. So my new goal is to incorporate at least a half hour at least once a week...seems like an easy enough goal right? Hopefully I'll see some improvement in the next few months!
Thursday morning the Y was closed, so I took that as my off day, so by Friday i was totally itching to get back to doing some cardio. Luckily, the computrainer class was a GO on Friday. And, I got to use my new clippy pedals and shoes! It felt SO good to be cardio-ing, and it was a good start to practice clipping in and out. Though as we worked on individual legs, I realized I do have a lot of work to do in order to optimize my pedaling, but I am so glad to get to start now!
Saturday was an off day, because I volunteered at this middle school science bowl at work. It was so much fun- these middle school kids amazed me - they know so much about so many science topics. Very impressive!
Today I did a swim-since I'm (sadly) off long runs for the time being. I had to do 6x200s. Unfortunately for me, the guy I was sharing a lane with made it feel like a wave pool, and I gulped water almost every time I crossed his path. I have no idea what he was doing to make it that way, but I have never noticed this being a problem with any other lane buddies in the past! I sucked it up and figured its good practice- like open water swimming! haha. I swam a mile, though not very fast...I have a long way to go before I feel efficient at swimming again, but I have to keep reminding myself that I could barely swim 10 laps at this time last year... so I'll get there eventually!
Now for a return to a more normal workout week (after my week in Fl and the snowmageddon). Oh, and in other news, I got a lot of knitting done during the sister's socks will hopefully be finished before her upcoming visit!