Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 29: Big Weekend Coming Up

THE WORKOUT - Elle's Swim
w/u: 300 swim, 100 buoy, 100 kick, 100 swim
drill: 4 x 50 closed fist
main: 2 x 200 pull-outs & push ups
c/d: 100 easy
total: 1300M

Elle: So I know that fist drill has a funny name, but I find that it really helps with exaggerating the catch and full extension on the pull. I can't believe that I've gotten in a pool swim almost every single day of this month. But that was the goal, and I have to say, I'm kinda proud of myself. It wasn't always easy, that's for sure. But I've got to believe that my swimming has improved because of this little experiment. We'll see at tomorrow's TI Swim Clinic!

THE WORKOUT - SEAC Thursday! Back to the Track
w/u - 1.5 jog to track
main - 6x200m w/ 200m jog recovery
drills - the usual: lunges, lower-leg drive, etc.
c/d - 1.5 jog back to store
total - 4.5 miles

Webb: I was a little disappointed to be heading to the track. My legs could benefit from some more hill sessions. Nonetheless, I was quite pleased with my workout. I pushed through all six sets at what felt like a consistent, hard pace. Overall it was a good night for the crew. Dan split the group in two. Those of us - not me - who are in the final prep for the Boston Marathon (April 16th) ran 10 Yasso 800s. The rest of us ran the 200s. Waiting for us back at the store were Equinox trainers who gave massages and assisted with stretching. Plus a continuing trend is for people to bring tasty treats. This has to be the best running club in the world.

Elle: Announcement! So we have a big weekend planned:

SATURDAY: Multisport World Expo & Sufferlandrian Day
7:30am: Suffer through Sufferfest's Revolver bike trainer workout (arguably the toughest of the Sufferfests)
10:00am: Arrive at the Multisport World Boston Expo @ MIT
10:30am: Total Immersion Swim Clinic - Speed Skills (75 minutes)
1:00pm: Keynote by MARK ALLEN (6x Ironman World Champion)
2:00pm - 4:00pm: Explore the Expo 
4:15pm: Expo drawing of the GRAND PRIZE GIVAWAY, a CompuTrainer Pro (worth $1500!), winner must be present, so we'll be there! 
4:30pm: Pints & food at The Asgard in Cambridge - celebrating Sufferlandrian Day! Feel free to meet us there or just stop by for a pint or two. Or six.

A bit about Sufferlandrian Day from The Sufferfest website:
Sufferlandrian Day: It’s time to Suffer Together!
You have Suffered for months. Often alone. You push yourself to dark places. You fly with Angels. You feel the fury.
You are not alone.
There are Sufferlandrians everywhere….and probably in your town. It’s time to meet them at the first ever Sufferlandrian National Day: The Day of Suffering – a day to celebrate our spiritual home of pain, misery, agony and IWBMATTKYT (I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow).

So in an effort to combine the Boston & Cambridge Sufferlandrians, we are meeting up at The Asgard around 4:30pm for food & drinks. We can't stay toooooo late, however, because we'll be getting up the next morning for....

SUNDAY: The famous "DoubleDown"
10:30am: Cambridge City Run 5-miler
1:00pm: Cohassett Roadrace by the Sea 10K

Webb: Maybe it isn't famous, but it should be. Around 7 or 8 years ago I called our buddy Sean, who we did nearly all our road races with, to see if he wanted to do the Cohassett 10k. He initially declined because he was running the Fresh Pond 5-miler that day. After talking for a few more minutes he asked, "Why not do both?" Of course I agreed - because that is what I do. 

The key is that Cohassett is one of the few afternoon 10k races. We figured it was possible to finish the 5-miler, jump in the car, drive the hour or so to the South Shore and make it in time for the 10k start. It was stupidly fun and safely adventurous. We have done it every year since. There have been a couple of times we have swapped the Doyle's 5-miler in place of Fresh Pond. We were even joined by a soon-to-be famous author and friend, George Cuddy one year. So far he has been the only guest runner even though we always invite others. Really people, you should come along for the fun.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 28: The New Swim Gear is Here

Webb: Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to work from home on Day 28. I was plugging along getting stuff done while outside the skies were grey and a bit rainy. Then all of sudden there was light. Through our windows came this streaming brightness and I knew what I had to do. I grabbed my running shoes and Garmin 305 and headed out for an easy lunch time run. Unfortunately, the 305 was (is) dead. I don't mean it needs a charge. I mean it is DEAD. Nothing I have tried will revive it. I'm going to give it 3 days, if it doesn't rise from the dead then I'm moving on.
New swim cap!

w/u: 200M swim, 100M buoy, 100M kick, 100M swim
drill: 4 x 50M catch-up
main: 500M swim
c/d: 100M swim
total: 1300M

Elle: The thing that made this swim special is my new, super fantastic swim cap from
Webb and I also each got sweet, new swim bags that will be really great when the weather gets nicer and we start biking to the pool. The swim itself was good, although my legs were a little tired from Coach Troy's workout the night before.
New swim bags!

I felt pretty rotten during my warm-up, probably due to the run. I had this idea to add 2x100 IM into the warm-up instead of the buoy and kick sets. During the first 25 (fly) my left foot and calf began cramping badly. I doggie-paddled the final 5m to the end and massaged them out. I then proceeded with 25 backstroke and blammo! my right foot and calf cramped up. What followed was a lot of starting, stopping and stretching as I tried to resume a normal warm-up. The good news is as bad as the warm-up was, my main set was good. I swam my 500m :10 faster than my last outing earlier in the week. Sometimes you just have to keep at it.

Elle: FYI, when Webb says he's "moving on," that probably means he's going to be getting the brand, spanking new, super fly Garmin 910XT, the Garmin to rule all Garmins. Of course I'll still be sporting my crappy, wonky Garmin 110...

Webb: Indeed I am tempted. The 3-year shelf life of my 305 bothers me though. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 27: Force Tuesday!

Webb: Tuesdays are for getting strong.

Elle: Giddyup.

500 swim
500 swim with pull-buoy
500 swim with pull-buoy & paddles
500 swim
total- 2000m

Webb: Since we are increasing our training hours again this week, we need to work in some more time into our swimming so we do not ramp up our run and bike training too much. Readers of the blog know this is our current favorite swim workout. I decided to tack on the extra 500 both to increase time in the pool and to see how we would react to a straight swim set after the first 1500m. Not surprisingly, I felt slow and tired. About 250m into the set I came around and finished feeling good.

Elle: I don't know if it was the day of rest, or perhaps these 2 videos that I watched before the swim set (Michael Phelps and also Effortless Swimming - How to eliminate 'Runner's Hips'), Brenton Ford suggests "squeezing your butt cheeks together" to help stay high in the water, and it works! I felt like I flew through this swim, even the last 500 meters without the buoy or paddles went well. Yeehaw.

Coach Troy's Spinervals Vol. 5 - Ultra Conditioning
~ 1 hour on the bike
~ 25 minutes of strength work
Coach Troy

Elle: We did this workout last week, and again, it's a winner. I took an hour break between swimming and getting on the bike trainer to do this. It's tough, but every time I started to fade, I just concentrated on Coach Troy's voice, and was able to push harder. Yeah, I have a little crush on Coach Troy, who doesn't?

Webb: Me? I mean he seems like a great guy and all, but I wouldn't say I'm crushin' on him. If we are going to talk crushes, I present XTERRA World Champ Lesley Paterson.

Definitely still a good workout. I was a little distracted by technical difficulties. My Garmin Edge kept losing speed and cadence and the Rival shifting was all over the place. I am overdue for an adjustment; still, wow, I never had these types of problems with Shimano 105 or Ultegra.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 26: Elle Takes a Sick Day

Webb: Just a quick update to share the workout. Elle sat this one out as she came down with something today. Cross your collective fingers she can rebound for Day 27. This is also a reminder that short and long term health should always have priority in training.

w/u -  300 swim, 200 pull-buoy, 100 swim
drill -  200 Single-arm as 4x50: 2x {25 right arm/25 swim, 25 left arm/25 swim}
         50 swim
main - 500 TPace 
total - 1350

The main set felt nice and strong. The sort of set that makes a person believe swimming everyday can reap significant benefits.

Elle: *cough, cough*
         *sad face*

5 Day Update: Days 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25 of "30 for 30"

Webb: As the hours ramp up, the ability to blog suffers. Here is a quick update on the 5 days of "30 for 30" we missed - including a <gasp> day off.

DAY 21: SWIM and RUN

w/u - 200 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 pull-buoy w/paddles, 100 pull-buoy, 200 swim
drill - 200 Catch-up drill as 4x50 drill/swim (25/25)
main - 400 at TPace
total - 1300m

Aerobic Run: 1:10:00 

Webb: It was a challenge keeping my HR in a low zone 2. I averaged 10:22/mile. Even though I am not a fast runner, that was pretty damn slow. That pace basically robbed me of using momentum to my advantage. Meanwhile, I think it helped with the conditioning of my legs and joints. My hope is runs like this will help me prevent ITB problems like I had at Ragnar Del Sol. I think runners call these 'junk miles.' Maybe. I don't know. It felt good though just to run at an easy pace.

DAY 22: SWIM and RUN (Hill Repeats)

w/u - 200 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 pull-buoy w/paddles, 100 pull-buoy, 200 swim
drill - 200 Fingertip drill as 4x50 drill/swim (25/25)
main - 400 at TPace
total - 1300m

Beacon Hill Repeats with SEAC
w/u - 1.5-mile jog
main - 200m, 4x 400m, 200m
drills - lunges, lower-leg drive, bounding, etc.
c/d - 1-mile jog
total - 5.55 miles

Elle: I did the swim workout after work, then off to SEAC running club for hill repeats. It wasn't quite a brick workout, but my legs weren't super fresh for the run. The weather was fantastic, breaking records all over New England. It got up into the 80's that afternoon, and was still in the 70's for running club. I'll take it!

Our new favorite swim workout: 
500 swim, 500 swim with pull-buoy, 500 swim with pull-buoy and paddles
total - 1500M

DAY 24: BIKE WORKOUT and ... No SWIM!?!
Aerobic bike: 2:50:00

Elle: OK, so the first 1+ hour of this bike "ride" was me, all-out, at race pace, just trying to keep up with Webb and Lenny. At one point I thought, "Why do I feel like I'm going so slowly, why can't I keep up?" And when I looked down at my Garmin, I saw that I was going over 20 mph. At this point I had dropped my chain twice and also adjusted my seat twice. I was exhausted and not having a great day. We finally told Lenny to go on ahead, so he continued at his pace and we, or I, could catch my breath. I was pretty tapped. Webb brought along some baked baby potatoes (an idea he got from Dr. Lim), which were tasty, but didn't help my aching legs. We finally got home, I had no energy left. I had no swim in me.

Webb: Even if we had any energy, we did not have time to make it to the pool. We awoke early to go see our super fantastic tax guy, Bob Torraco. The original plan was to swim before doing our taxes; however, I goofed on the pool times. That meant we would have to try to get back from our ride in time to hit the pool before closing. Alas, that wasn't to be. That's ok. It is probably smarter to have a day off anyway. 

By the way, the potatoes were fantastic. You should definitely try them in place of your gel packs. Natural carbs, fat and potassium. That is a tough combo to beat.

w/u -  500 swim, 500 swim with pull-buoy, 500 swim with pull-buoy and paddles
drill -  200 Sneak Up drill
main - 400 modified IM ladder: 25 fly, 50 back/free (25/25), 75 breast/free (25/50), 100 free, 75 fly/free (25/50), 50 back/free (25/25), 25 breast
c/d -  100 easy free
total - 2200m

WebbThis was our first big training week. Our goal was 12 hours. We came close at 11:15. Next week we pick up some more hour before a welcome recovery week. Stay tuned to the blog. We'll make a big effort to post daily this last week of "30 for 30."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Love Notes

      From:   Elle
      To:     Webb
      Subj:   Because of you ...

      I'm dying. Of tiredness. And soreness.

Webb: Ahhhhhhhhh, that's so sweet. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 20: Two Workouts - Two Hours

THE SWIM WORKOUT aka Our New Favorite Swim W/O
500 swim
500 pull-buoy
500 pull-buoy w/paddles

Webb: I still love this workout. It will definitely become a regular on the schedule, even as we head into the race season.

Elle: Yup, def my favorite way to spend time in the pool. I love how fast I can go on the 3rd set with both the buoy AND the paddles. Good times, good times.

Coach Troy's Spinervals Vol. 5 - Ultra Conditioning

Webb: This Spinervals DVD is 1:25:00 of on-bike/off-bike work designed to improve total body conditioning. It utilizes a variety of movements like squats, lunges, crunches and planks to add strength. I was surprised the on-bike work was a lot of high cadence efforts. It worked though. It will definitely make you stronger even if it does not use the same low cadence or massive amount of squat sets to build pure cycling strength like Bending Crank Arms.

Elle: Ok, so I REALLY liked this W/O. And I even went into it angry (due to the loss of our parking spot this year, we started this workout very late, since Webb had to drive around for ONE HOUR to find parking. Ugh, you gotta love living in the city, right?)
So, even though I was tired and frustrated, once the workout started, and Coach Troy was calling out commands, I was in. Granted, I love a good Coach Troy workout, that guy is an amazing athlete and a great coach. And I also love interval training, so getting off and on the bike, and doing strength work, it was great. After about an hour into it, I did get nauseous on some of the bike intervals, but that just confirmed that I was getting in a good session.

Webb: Oh yes. The nausea. I forgot about that. There is a set of threshold intervals that nearly emptied my stomach. I wish I had the same optimistic view that Elle had. Two hours in the books leaves eight more to go for the week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 19: Into the Lucy Archives

Webb: We have a big week of training planned - 12 hrs. That meant two scheduled hours after work on Monday.  That also means no comments from Elle on today's blog. She is "busy" working on other "projects." Whatever. She'll learn soon enough that blogging is the fourth discipline of triathlon.

Purpose: Medium intensity intervals
w/u - 5:00 in HR zone 1
main- 45:00 of intervals as 1:00 on, :30 off, 2:00 on, :30 off, 2:00 on, 5:00 recovery. Each "on" segment was in HR zone 3.
total- 50:00

What a great night for a run. The Charles and the skyline at magic hour and just after in early Spring and Fall can be head-shakingly beautiful. My favorite time is when it is dark enough to trigger the lamp posts along the path but still plenty of light from the setting sun. It feels like you have captured the exact moment of transition, the tipping point from day to night and Winter to Spring, and slowed it down.

As for the actual workout. I liked it. It was great. The medium intensity intervals are going to help us develop our base fitness while also maximizing our ability to get faster at lower heart rates. I'm looking forward to more.

w/u - 300 swim, 200 hypoxic set w/ pull-buoy, 200 kick
drill - 450 as 6x75 catch-up (25 drill/50 swim); followed by 50 easy swim
main- 800 as 4 x 200 (:30). Each 200 is 150 at TPace followed by :10 rest, then 50 build-to-sprint.
c/d - 100 swim
total - 2100m

The plan was to run for an hour and swim for an hour. The run was cut short since I stayed at the office later than expected and we wanted to get to the pool in-time. The concern was public transportation. Normally we drive to the pool. It takes us 30:00 from the time we get in the car to our toes touching the water. Tonight was going to be a bus night. Who knows how long that could take? Turns out on this particular occasion, 25:00.

This is a good workout. It is definitely time to get back to hypoxic sets. Tonight's set was 200 as 4x50 swum continuously (no breaks). The first 50 breathe every 3rd stroke, the second every 5th stroke, the third every 7th stroke and then finally the fourth 50 every 9th ... just kidding, you return to breathing every 3rd stroke.

I also like broken 200s. There is a debate in the triathlon-swimming community on the value of short, fast sets. We don't know enough or have enough experience to have an opinion. I'll say this though. That :10 rest between the 150 and 50 feels insufficient. Pushing through the final 50 certainly feels like you are adapting and getting faster. And I'll say this, Coach Lucy has done more for my swimming than anyone else.

For the first 18 days of "30 for 30," I have planned out our pool workouts a week at a time. I did not do that this time. There I was on the pool deck flipping through my Coach Lucy workouts from two years ago. I finally decided on the workout, leaving 55:00 to get it done. I can live with missing 15:00 of a scheduled 2 hour day. We shouldn't try to make up lost time, but 15:00? We may just have try.

Monday, March 19, 2012

3 Day Update: Days 16, 17 & 18 of "30 for 30"

Webb: We never intended this to be a daily blog. The "30 for 30" program, however, warrants constant updating. There is a lot to say, so let's get to it.

Purpose: drill focus
w/u-  300 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull-buoy, 200 swim
drill-  200 catch-up as 4x50 drill/swim
main- 300 swim at TPace
total- 1200

Elle: Ahhh, Friday. I was feeling a bit tired from the week. We talked about doing the Spinervals 1.5 hour cycle/strength workout, but I just didn't have it in me.

Webb: I had to swim at work on Friday. My lunch time swim had to be pushed to late afternoon - which is apparently the bestest time in the whole world to swim there because every lane had at least 2 people in it and most had 3. 

DAY 17: ERIN GO LADDERS, or How we spent our St Patrick's Day

Purpose: Endurance, fitness
w/u-  200 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 pull-buoy w/paddles, 100 pull-buoy, 200 swim
main- 2 x {25 fly (:10), 25 back/25 free (:10), 25 breast/50 free (:10), 100 free (:10), 25 fly/50 free (:10), 25 back/25 free (:10), 25 breast }
c/d-   250 swim
total-  1750

Webb: I love IM swim sets, not that I am any good at any of the strokes. They are good for me because they kick my ass aerobically and I definitely feel an improvement in my free-style form after an IM set. 

Elle: Ha, this was fun. And since I couldn't seem to figure this one out on my own, and accidentally added 50 meters to the first main set, for the second main set Webb patiently waited for me at the end of each of the IM legs. Also, while we were trying to figure that all out, yelling to each other across the lanes, we met a super nice woman in the pool who was swimming with headphones on, something I've been really curious about. She even let me try them. According to the website:

"Using Bone Conduction audio transmission the SwiMP3 waterproof MP3 player provides the highest quality underwater sound without ear buds. 2GB of storage holds approximately 500 songs, or 30 hours of music. Swimmers can listen to music, audio books, podcasts and more, all with incredible clarity."

A couple of things:
1. I won't be swimming for 30 hours in a row, but good to know.
2. Are you serious? Swimming laps while listening to an audio book? To each his own, I guess.
3. The sound is good when you're under water, but every couple of seconds, when you breath and turn your head, the sound gets a little muffled, so it's not a perfect system. But I'm ready to give it a try...

BIKE WORKOUT: Another Ladder
Purpose: Steady aerobic effort with cadence work
w/u-  20:00 in HR zone 1
main- 50:00 in HR zone 2 as 5:00 at 80-90 rpm, 5:00 at 70-80 rpm, 5:00 at 60-70 rpm, 5:00 at 70-80 rpm, 5:00 at 80-90 rpm. Each interval followed by a 90-100 rpm "recovery"
c/d-   20:00 in HR zone 1

Webb: This workout is only hard in the sense that you need to keep your HR down in zone 2, but above zone 1. It is great in the sense that it helps you focus on a steady effort as you deal with a rolling hill type environment.

Elle: Another name for this workout could have been, "Suffering on the indoor bike trainer while watching the Celtics lose because they seem to have forgotten how to play defense or put the ball through the hoop."

Webb: I think it is more of rebounding issue. You need the ball to win. But you know what they say, "An L is an L." That is what they say, isn't it? 

DAY 18: 

Purpose: Endurance-Speed
w/u-  200 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 kick w/fins, 200 swim
main- 6x200 at TPace on :10 rest
total-  1800

Elle: Ugh! Hard! I was able to do the first 200 at TPace, and then it all went to crap. Sometimes when I'm in the water I feel like one of those wind up SCUBA toys. Like this one. Here he is again, exploring an under water sea wreck.

Webb: I think it was somewhere at the end of the fourth interval or beginning of the fifth interval when I thought to myself, "Why do I taste blood? Am I having a stroke? Oh well, pull-breathe, pull-breathe ..."

w/u-  10:00 HR zone 1
main-  5x 5:00 intervals with 5:00 zone 1 recovery.  Intervals broken down into 5 - 1:00 segments in HR zone 3. The first minute has the lowest HR ceiling (within zone 3), with each minute increasing the ceiling by a 2 beats. The final minute of the 5:00 segment has ceiling in zone 4.
c/d-  10:00 HR zone 1
total-  1:10:00

Webb: I like this workout. The slow build to a fast, final minute was fun. It helped with pacing and if you really push yourself in the fast minute, you'll find the 5 minute recovery goes by pretty quickly. And as the recovery efforts go, so does the entire run. 

Elle: Another name for this run could have been, "Elle goes over her target heart rate zones to stay with Webb while Bostonians stumble drunkenly around the city after their respective St. Patty's Day parties" 

Webb: Oh man did we see a lot of people in a bad way. I mean it is one thing to be drunk and merry or even an angry drunk. I'm not even sure how to describe some of the people we saw - The Walking Unsober? They seemed so incoherent. Also, you know how it is when you are out for a run and cruise by a smoker and for a moment you can't breathe? Now imagine replacing smoke with the rank odors of booze and beer. That was rough. Instead of choking on smoke, I had to control my gag reflex. Then I went home and had a beer. (By the way, nice job Dogfish Head Ale. Your Indian Brown Ale is quite yummy.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 15: Halfway Home

Webb: Here we are. At the midpoint. Time to take stock.

Elle: Rollercoaster energy levels: Check.
       Sore and tired shoulders: Check.
       Constant aroma of chlorine about me all day long: Check.
       Emotional fragility: Check.

Purpose: Force!
500m swim
500m swim with pull-buoy
500m swim with pull-buoy and paddles
total 1500m

Webb: I pretty much love this workout. Many swim workouts, including our easy, drill-focused swims, have so many sets that switching back and forth or stopping can become tedious. The beauty of this is that it is simple (i.e., 3 sets) and still includes some quasi-drill work (i.e., pull-buoy) and some hard work (i.e., paddles).

Elle: I have to agree, this is a good workout. I was able to get into a rhythm and go with it. I like how the paddles help with strength building and really exaggerate the catch motion. By the time 6pm rolled around, though, I wasn't super psyched to bundle up, go out into the misty chill and run hills. But I sucked it up and did it.
Emily celebrates St. Patty's day
with her famous shamrock socks

SEAC Beacon Hill Repeats
w/u -   1.5 mile jog to Beacon Hill
Main -  200m, 400m, 400m, 400m, 200m
Drills -  the usual assortment of lunges, lower-leg drives, bounding, etc.
c/d -    1 mile jog back to SEAC
total - 4.75 miles

Webb: Our run club leader, Dan, has been pushing the group pretty hard lately. (Not that we were put through the paces. We were in AZ and last week was a recovery week for us.) For that reason he decided to take it a little easy on the group. That was fine with me since our current plan is for medium intensity work. I stuck to that and had a good workout. My legs felt fresh, probably due to last week's recovery and my aerobic run the day before.
Dan looks at me, Webb looks at Dan, Shawn eats a cupcake

Elle: Once we got to the Commons and the hill portion of the workout, I was feeling surprisingly well, and was able to push it on the hill repeats. Since we had been on the treadmill since our return from AZ, it felt good to run outside. So I continued to push it a bit on the run back to the store too.

Webb: No kidding. The crew separated and left me and two others behind. Sheesh.

Elle: Of course, after the run, the standard Thursday night SEAC post-run, beer drinking commenced and hilarity ensued...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 14: Blackout!!!

Elle: We succeeded in getting up and out of the apartment and in the pool by 7:30am, which is always an achievement in my book. Today's swim went really well for me, and I think it has everything to do with the great swim articles in this month's issue of Triathlete Magazine, which I was reading right before I went to bed last night. There's also a great story by Macca, who I guess will be a regular columnist from now on. I for one can't wait for his new book to drop in the states, totally looking forward to reading it.

WORKOUT: Swim 1200M
w/u: 300 swim, 100 kick, 200 bouy, 100 swim
Drill: 4 x 50 underwater recovery
Main: 300 swim

Webb: Man I was tired. I am really started to feel the day-in, day-out fatigue with each stroke. Not sure how I feel about the drill. I need to read more about the purpose. As it was, it felt like I was supposed to learn not to take a normal recovery stroke for granted.

Elle: Still on my swim high, I got to work and the best thing happened - the building was closed, so no work today! There was a blackout in Boston, a transformer caught fire, causing a loss of electricity throughout the Back Bay. No one was hurt, but a lot of businesses were closed and traffic lights were out, so there were police at all the intersections directing traffic. It was kind of exciting. And I had the day off, woohoo!

Webb: While Elle was enjoying a day out of the office, I was hard at work sneezing my face off. Physically I feel fine, maybe even great. So I am not sure if this is sinusitis, and if so, if the cause is allergies, chlorine, both or a low-level cold complicated by those two. I decided to deal with it the way any obsessive endurance athlete would: I went for a run.
Dr. Allen Lim

After work I went for a short, easy 30:00 aerobic run. My hope was that some physical exertion would allow me to breathe freely (instead of say, every third step) and clear out my sinuses. No such luck. Oh well, it was good to add some miles to my legs. This nearly made me late for our evening plans though.


Webb: We had plans to see Dr. Allen Lim (Garmin-Slipstream and Team Radio Shack) discuss nutrition. Some people call nutrition the fourth discipline of triathlon. Others assign that distinction to recovery. I might write a post some day listing all of the fourth disciplines of triathlon, which may include, transitions, strength training, visualization/mental toughness, among others.

Elle: I was excited to hear Dr. Allen Lim speak at Landrys. And when I walked into the store, Mark, the manager, was right there opening a beer for me. Score. The talk was really interesting, Lim, along with Chef Biju Thomas spoke about the cookbook they wrote called “The Feed Zone” to help teach cyclists how to cook fresh simple meals for themselves using real whole food ingredients. They also spoke about the shop they opened up called Skratch Labs. Afterwards we had the chance to speak with them and buy the cookbook. I can't wait to experiment with the recipes.

Lim, me, and Biju
Webb: What a great talk by both guys. As a fan of Team Garmin, I knew about Allen. I've watched all of his youtube videos and made his sushi-rice bars in lieu of packaged products. He talked a lot about what goes on in our stomachs. His explanation of how the gut seeks to establish equilibrium, which leads to that bloated feeling (if a sports drink is too dense) was eye-opening for me. Last year I decided to go away from solid foods on the bike. All of my calories came in liquid form (e.g., drinks, gels). It had mixed results in training and questionable results in my priority race. I decided to switch to lighter drinks and whole, solid foods for this year. As luck would have it, and that is what it was, this is what he recommends. If I am going to take nutrition advice from someone, then it might as well be a TdF veteran.

I am also looking forward to the book after listening to Chef Biju talk about its genesis. He does a great job of both explaining why it is important and letting you know that this is really simple stuff that anyone can do. In fact, it is a waste of time to make food complicated. For many of us, time management (wait! another fourth discipline!) is a huge issue for us; why should we make it harder?

If you get a chance to see either Allen or Chef Biju speak, Do Not Pass It Up. They are informative without being stuffy or overly academic and are prone to talk story. Have questions about food? They'd love to answer. Have a questions about the pro peloton? They'd love to answer. Look for the book, look for the tour.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 13: Fatigue setting in

Webb: This swimming everyday thing is getting kinda hard. Today was definitely an alter-the-workout-mid-workout day.

w/u - 300 swim, 100 kick, 200 pull-buoy, 100 swim
Drill - 200 sculling as 4x50 25drill/25swim
Main - 300 swim (as in not TPace)

Webb: It seems like I am a day behind Elle in the fatigue/soreness area. There have been a couple of times during a workout where Elle has mentioned soreness in her shoulders or just being tired. Yesterday after her tpace set, she commented she was just too tired to hit her numbers. (Most importantly, the effort was there.) That was my story today. About 100 yards into my 300 (well, 350 - I added an extra 50 since yards are shorter than meters), I started to crack. I slowed down and cruised through the final 250 yards. Stupid tpace.

Elle: Ugh, today was tough. One of the signs that I'm over-training, in addition to physical sluggishness and lack of motivation, is that I get overly emotional.

   Me: "Ugh, this pen just died!!!" *tear*
   Me: "I don't know what to have for lunch!" *tear*
   Me: "What?!? It's raining in Des Moines?" *tear*

But I pushed through and got the swim done. However, Webb saw that we were both in danger of over-training, so we decided to skip the bike-strength workout we had planned. I was both glad and upset, since I've been wanting to do this Spinervals conditioning workout ever since I convinced Webb to purchase it. Oh well, another day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 12: It is 72 degrees in Boston ...

Webb: ... and we ran on the effing treadmills.

45:00 aerobic interval run as: 
1:00 on, :30 off,
1:00 on, :30 off,
1:00 on, 5:00 off
repeat until done.

Webb: The 1:00-intervals increasingly bumped the HR ceiling each time; however, the top HR range was 155, which is pretty damn low. It was frustrating trying to keep the HR in range, both during the recovery efforts and working efforts. What made it all the more difficult was that my Garmin apparently has at least a :15 lag between what my actual HR is and the display. I had never noticed it before because I had never attempted :30 recovery intervals on a treadmill. Towards the end of the workout I would step off the treadmill and watch the Garmin. It would appear frozen at 150 for :15 or more and then drop immediately to 135. I've been considering the new 910XT, but now I think I'll check out Suunto and Polar monitors. Perhaps they all have this serious lag time or maybe they have improved in the 5 years since I bought my 305.

Elle: The treadmills at SEFC aren't the most glamorous, they are in a room with no windows and the fans only hit on some of them, and partially at best. The one benefit is the mirrored wall that you stare into as you run - some may not like being forced to gaze at their own full-body reflection for 45 minutes, but I like to use it as a time to focus heavily on my running form. I'm hoping this form study will come in handy during the 1/2 marathon at Timberman.

w/u - 300 swim, 100 kick with fins, 200 buoy, 100 swim
drill - 200 ankle buoy drill as 2x100 50 drill/50 swim
main - 300 swim at TPace
total - 1200m

Webb: Ahh, the ankle buoy drill. This is a good one to work your abs and adductor muscles. The primary purpose of the drill is to take the sway out of your stroke. You have to squeeze your inner thighs together to keep the buoy in place between your ankles as you swim. Meanwhile, the buoy is holding your feet up. If you don't contract your abs and push your chest down into the water, your hips will sag. The overall effect is to get you on top of the water and streamlined. It is a great drill.

Elle: Ok, so I'm starting to feel a bit tapped at this point. 12 days of working out without a break, I have to admit, I'm feeling it. But I'm still pushing, working, trying to get the most out of every workout, "putting money in the bank." I'll be glad once we hit the half-way point of this month...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 11: Pulling Ourselves out of the Water and Up Some Hills

Webb: Today was a big day for us. We planned to take advantage of a beautiful New England day by finally getting our bikes outside. Of course, we had to swim too. Since our pool closes at 3p on Sunday that meant an early swim. 

w/u - 200 swim, 2x (100 pull-buoy, 100 kick, 100 swim)
Drill - 200 pull-outs and push-ups
Main - 200 at TPace

Webb: Losing an hour to Daylight Savings hurt me today. I really could have used that hour to sleep. Anyway, I decided to bring back the "pull-outs and push-ups" workout. I found this workout on and modified it to fit our circumstances. A "pull-out" is what you do when you pull yourself out of the water, except you only extend out to locked elbows. You don't actually exit the water. A push-up is, well, a push-up. So here is what we do. Our pool has a shallow end and a deep end. We start at the shallow end and swim the 25m to the deep end where we perform eight pull-outs. We then swim back to the shallow side. After seven push-ups on the deck, we return to the deep side and do six pull-outs. We repeat this pattern, descending each time, until we have completed eight laps in total. Your arms get pretty noodle-y. 

Elle: I like doing the pull-outs and push-ups because I really need to work on getting stronger. And I always wonder if the other people at the pool think we're a little nuts when they see us getting up on the deck, doing push-ups, getting back in the pool, pulling ourselves almost out of the pool, then dropping back in. Not that there were a lot of people at the pool this morning, I think there were only 2 other swimmers.

Easy, aerobic effort for 2:45

Webb: It was a beautiful day to get out on the bikes. It was sunny and bright, if not a bit chilly in the beginning. Armed with new gloves, some Mad Alchemy embrocated legs and my Evil Racing Cult wheels, I was ready to go out there and not go so hard.
Yeah, there were some hills...

Elle: Easy, my butt! It may have been an easy ride for Webb (who is much stronger than me on the bike) and Lenny (who is a serious cyclist - he even has a cycling coach), but today I was working. Maybe my memory is a little off, but I don't recall that many flat straight-aways, we were going up and down most of the way. Some hills were short and steep, others more gradual, and never-ending. I did my best to stay with the guys, and only got dropped a couple of times, mostly near then end, when I started to feel my gas tank head towards empty. My Garmin logged the ride at 39.6 miles.

Webb: I absolutely love my ERC wheels. I felt stable and fast all afternoon, even on Trapelo Road. I am sure those of you who have ridden Boston-metro's poorest excuse for a roadway have often wondered just how tough Paris-Roubaix could be. I mean, the cobblestones appear to be pretty uniform and consistent. Trapelo has lots of surprises waiting for you each inch of the way. The wheels were brilliant. 

I also had some fun descents. For the past few years, Lenny has continued to get stronger and stronger on the bike; it takes everything I have to stay on his rear wheel. The one thing I could match him on was descending. That was until he bought aero wheels and started flying by me. Today the playing field was leveled again - well, except he is still at least 30% stronger. The wheels felt great. There was never a moment, descending or otherwise, where I had any concerns. They are stronger and lighter than any of my other wheels. This being my first foray into carbon wheels (and these do not have aluminum brake ... um, paths?), I wondered a little about security. As it turns out, I actually feel more confident on these than my other wheels. And we should not forget how badass they look on the machine. Of course, that meant Elle was left out of the party. We'll have to get her some. 

Elle: And if history repeats itself, that means that Webb will upgrade his wheels, and I'll get his old, hand-me-downs.

Webb: I'm not sure I can upgrade from these.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Days 9 & 10: And We're Swimmminnng...

Day 9: Wisdom gets the better part of us

Webb: After Thursday night's trouble with hill repeats, I realized that our first full week of swimming did not account for the recovery week. I made a Friday morning decision to replace our 1 hour or so force-focused swim workout with another easy 30:00 drill-focus swim. I think this swimming every day thing is getting to us. I don't understand how swimming can have this much of a cumulative effect, but I am simply drained. Granted, I have not been sleeping well, but this goes beyond that.

Elle: I think part of it is that it takes time to get all the swim gear together, get to the pool, put on the suit, take the pre-swim shower, all before the workout starts. And then afterwards, the post-swim shower, getting everything together, and leaving the pool. That adds 30-45 minutes or more to the workout, which is quite the time-suck. Which might be a reason for why it seems more exhausting than it should.

FRIDAY WORKOUT - Pool Swim 1200M
w/u: 2 x (100 swim, 100 buoy, 100 kick, 100 swim)
Drill: 4 x 50 (fingertip)
Main: 200 t-pace
total: 1200 meters

Webb: Friday morning I was supposed to get up at 6:00 to be at the pool by 6:30. I finally had a decent night's sleep so when the alarm sounded, I shut it off and went back to bed. In my zombie head I quickly came up with an alternate plan to swim at lunch. Once I was awake I remembered why I don't do that. There is indeed a pool at work where I can swim. However, it is not reliable. There have been several times I have arrived to a sign that says "Pool closed today." Once a group of standing at the pool door all pre-showered up were greeted by a staff member who apologized for the inconvenience and sent us away. Here is my guess. The pool is staffed by college students. (I do work at a college.) I am nearly certain that from time to time, these kids forget their schedule or are too hungover to make it in the morning.

Thankfully the pool was open and it was a relatively quiet day at work. I popped over for the quick swim. Remember that the pool was 25 yards instead of our usual pool (meters), I swam an extra 100 yards as cool down. Damnit if 1300 yards does not equate to 1189 meters. I'm not obsessive but I sure would like to get in another 50 yards. Maybe I am obsessive?

Elle: I lugged my end-of-the-week self to the pool Friday after work, which is a lot harder than it should be. I guess I'll have to get used to Friday night being just another workout night, at least for the month of March. But it was only 30 minutes, and it went by quickly.

Day 10 Dilemma: To Run or Nap?
Maxwell doing what he does best

Webb: The plan on Saturday was to do an easy aerobic run for an hour then head to the pool. I ran out to do some errands before our run. When I returned, Elle was all dressed up but not really feeling it. All of sudden, out of nowhere, I was completely exhausted and could only think of sleeping. The feeling was so overwhelming I allowed myself to be overwhelmed. It was definitely not a moment of "suck it up and go for a run," but "get some damn sleep son." With that I replaced my 1 hour run with a 2 hour nap.

Elle: Actually that is "we took a 2 hour nap." I had laid down on the bed with Max (master of the nap trap) while Webb was getting dressed/ready for the run. I think the cat and I looked so comfy and cozy that it just sucked Webb right in. Maxwell strikes again!

Webb: 68 laps
Elle: 60 laps

Webb: Well rested after our nap, we headed to the pool. I had an idea that we should just do a 8:00-10:00 warm-up then just swim. No drills. No endurance, speed or force focus. Just. Swim.

I wanted to do this for two reasons. First, it would be a good head-clearing session. Second, I knew Elle would hate it. However, that is what Olympic and 70.3 distances are about - swimming for 1500m or 2000m. At some point, we need to swim continuously over time. Because this is still our recovery week, we did not have a distance goal in mind. I definitely mixed in some speed to help me count the laps and to feel out my pacing versus my RPE.

Elle: I wasn't looking forward to a straight swim with no drills or sets, that meant straight swimming, no stopping, no breaks. I persuaded Webb that we should swim straight for 30 minutes, without a warm up, and that the first several laps would act as the warm up. So we just jumped in and didn't stop swimming until the 30 minutes was up. Maybe it's the 9 straight days of pool work adding up, but I was able to get into a groove, and go with it, which I've never been able to do before. And I wasn't tired at the end, I definitely could have gone on for a while longer. So I felt really good after today, like I've reached another milestone in my swimming. Woohoo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 8: Cavities

Elle: Sadly I couldn't go to the pool this morning with Webb, I had an appointment with Dr. Morrison. TWO cavities. I would rather do almost anything than go to the dentist, and I really like my dentist. I would rather run 20 miles, or swim 1.25 miles, bike 56 miles, then run 13.1 miles. But there was no getting out of the appointment this morning, so I put on my brave face, and took the pain.

w/u: 2 x (100 swim, 100 buoy, 100 kick, 100 swim)
Drill: 4 x 50 (fist drill)
Main: 200 t-pace
total: 1200 meters

Webb: Big surprise here - I left the apartment 15 minutes late. Oh well. It didn't really impact my swim, just made my post-swim time a bit more stressful. There were definitely more swimmers this morning, yet I still had my own lane. Maybe all those die-hard swimmers I imagine are in and out before I get there. The most notable thing from the swim was how fatigued my shoulders are. Even though this is our easy, drill-focused workout, I had to push myself to keep an easy pace. For my TPace set, I was actually surprised I came in a little faster because I felt super slow.

Dr. Morrison at work (not on me)
Elle: Elsewhere, I had to get shot not ONCE with Novocain, not TWICE, but THREE times. I was numb for 5 hours.

So I headed to the pool after work and did the workout.
As a non-swimmer, and former swim-hater, this month has already brought about a lot of different emotions. Swimming every day is a huge accomplishment for me - that's more swimming in one month than I've done EVER. And even though I felt spent and tired today, and the swim wasn't the best, I still felt oddly strange getting out of the pool after only 30 minutes and 1200 meters. Like it just wasn't enough swimming. And I know the swim sets will get longer as the month goes on, so I'm just doing my best to follow the plan.
And since I had to swim after work, sadly I missed run club at SEAC.

Beacon Hill Repeats with SEAC, sorta.
w/u -  jog 1.50 to Beacon Hill
Main - 200m, 400m, 400m
c/d - jog 1 mile back to store

Webb: I did not do the actual SEAC workout, which was 200m, 400m, 1200m tempo around the park, then final repeats of 400m and 200m. On the run over I felt like the pack was moving particularly fast. However, when I looked at my Garmin, our pace wasn't that fast and my HR was fairly low. It can take me awhile to warm-up sometimes so I just plugged along. By the time we arrived at the bottom of Beacon Hill I knew I would not be doing the planned workout. My HR was too low for me to feel that tired. This was not my night to do a hard workout. (Plus, this is technically a recovery week.) So I backed off the duration and intensity while everyone else blasted through the workout. I have not been sleeping well (allergies?) and the swimming may be taking a toll too. The plan is to sleep as much as possible this weekend to prepare for week 1 of our next training block.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 7: March, rolling in like a sea lion, out like a Pacific Spotted Dolphin?

Elle: Apparently the Pacific Spotted Dolphin is a very fast sea creature, reaching speeds of 24.7 mph.
The majestic Pacific Spotted Dolphin

5 miles in zone 2 on the treadmill at 1% grade

Elle: Looking forward to the sun setting later, and enjoying some after work, outdoor runs, rather than getting on the 'mill. Especially when the treadmills at the gym are in a room with no windows, and I was just under the fan, so while Webb was being delightfully cooled off during his 5 miles, I was next to him, sweating my face off.

Webb: This was a good run, mostly because I think Elle is starting to accept she does not need to try to win every workout. I am also looking forward to running outdoors more. As narcissistic as this blog is that does not mean I enjoy staring at my reflection for 5 miles. To distract myself I started doing race-day visualizations. That was a bad idea because it jumped my HR by about five points. I also noticed that if my stride rate dropped below 90rpm my HR would also go up by about five points. So no motivational visualization and a high RPM are necessary for me to stay in Zone 2.

w/u: 300 swim, 200 pull-buoy, 100 swim
Main -  2x150 Negative Split
            4x100 continuous with the first and third 100s as easy/moderate, and second and fourth as fast
            2x150 continuous as the first easy/moderate, second fast
            4x100 continuous with the first and third 100s as easy/moderate, and second and fourth as fast

Elle: I like swimming after running, because I'm all warmed up for the swim, plus jumping into the pool is refreshing, rather than arresting.

Webb: I'll echo that. Although, it was disappointing we had to cut the workout short because we only had 50:00 before the pool closed. I cut a sizable chunk from the warm-up since as Elle points out, we were pretty warmed up already. I have to say this is a modified workout that came from either Gale Bernhardt or I cannot remember which. One of the ways I modified it was to add 2x100 IM at the end. While I was waiting for Elle to finish her last 4x100, I decided to squeeze in one of the IM sets. I'm glad I did.

Elle: This swim felt good. Webb is still so much faster than me, so that is a big motivation for me to get in the water. I look forward to the day that I can give him a run for his money at the pool. Some day...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 6: First AM Swim

Webb: Today was the first time we have done a weekday morning swim. Up at 6AM and in the water before 7:30AM. I realize that you swimmers out there have done this so often it has become routine. For us, well for me, it was a struggle to get up and move. By the time we were at the water's edge I was awake and ready.

Elle: I honestly didn't know if Webb was going to make it. I was up and ready, then waited around the apartment for Webb to get his act together. Which he did, and we were off. I think the newness of it all helped me to find the energy to get up and at 'em. Hopefully I can hold on to this for the rest of the month, and longer...

W/U -   2x {100 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 kick w/fins, 100 swim}
Drill -  Elle: 200 catch-up as 4x50 drill/swim
           Webb: 200 mega catch-up as 2x100
Main - 200 at TPace

Webb: Quite frankly I was surprised how few people were at the pool this morning. We doubled the swim population and there were never more than four people total in the pool (for six lanes). I was sure the pool deck would be flooded with the water of hundreds of churning, flip-turning career swimmers. Nope. Just us and a couple of others and calm water.

The swim itself felt great. I love the mega catch-up drill. I picked it up from Glenn Mills and the website. Check it out. Anyway, back to the workout. One of my goals is to push myself without over-taxing my musculoskeletal or cardiovascular systems. In short, I don't want to injure myself or burn out. On the other hand, the point of this "30 for 30" is to become faster in the water. We do not want to train ourselves to go slow.

Elle: This swim went, uh, swimmingly. I felt good, it was nice outside, and the sun was streaming into the pool through the high windows above the pool deck. I timed myself this time doing my 200 meters at t-pace, and found that I've lost 11 seconds per 200 meters, woohoo! We'll get to see some real numbers once I finally get to do my swim test, hopefully later this week.
Oh, and one of the best parts, after the swim, I jumped in the car to head to work (yes, I drove. It's 20-degrees today. So shoot me.) And lo, and behold, our swim anthem was on the radio! Metallica's "Unforgiven". But instead of singing, "So I dub thee unforgiven", we sing,
"So I dub thee up for swimmin'..."

You can watch the video here:

Metallica - The Unforgiven

Webb: It started out with me singing to a grumpy Elle on the way to the pool a year or more ago, "I dub thee un-for-swimmin' ooo-eee-ooooo." Now she can't get enough.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 5: Fail x 2, Win x 3

Webb: Today's plan was to get to the gym early so we could do an easy Zone 2 run on the treadmill for 5 miles, then hit the pool for a 30-40:00 drill-focused swim.
Ffiona camps out in Webb's bag

FAIL #1: In my rush to get out the door, I forgot to throw a pair of running shorts into my bag. Okay. I wasn't rushing. I was distracted by Ffiona, who had the idea that she might join us at the gym. She's pretty damn cute when she is in gym mode.

WIN #1: While waiting for Elle to emerge from the women's locker room all fancied up in her run gear, I decided I would do a longer swim set. Elle had a surprisingly different idea.

     Me:  Um, I forgot my run shorts.
     Elle: Can't you just wear your swim shorts?
     Me:  You mean my speedos?
     Elle: Yeah
     Me: On the treadmill?
     Elle: Sure
     Me: You've lost your mind.
     Elle: Whaddya mean? Lots of people do it.
     Me: No, you've lost your mind. There is no way I'm going to get on the treadmill in        
            my speedos.
     Elle: C'mon. People run in speedos.
     Me: You're crazy.
     Elle: Fine, we're going to need to break up then.

w/u: 200 swim, 2x {100 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 kick with fins, 100 swim}
Drill: 200 single-arm drill as 4x50 2x {R-arm, swim; L-arm, swim}
Main 1: 200 TPace +:03
Main 2: 500 swim; 500 pull-buoy; 500 pull-buoy with paddles
c/d: 100
total: 3000m

It was kind of nice to just swim. During the warm-up I focused quite a bit on exhaling in the water - something at which I'm particularly bad. I think it slowed me down. However, I'm going to keep working at it in case it is a situation of one-step backwards, two-steps forward. I get it is important, regardless of discipline, to exhale the CO2. The smoother and more efficiently you can do it, the more efficiently your body can uptake and use O2.

Even though I was cruising along, I kept reminding myself that I needed to push the pace - not necessarily all out, just pressing. I think I was successful. I finished the workout a bit tired, but with plenty left in the tank to tackle Day 6's workouts.

Elle: So I headed to the treadmill alone. Armed with my ipod and Webb's instructions to stay below 160bpm, or 150bpm, if I could. I've been bad about wearing my heart rate monitor, but after going through all the work of taking the VO2 Max test, I figured it was time to start training smart. 

Treadmill Run: 5 miles (41:27) @ 1% incline

Fail #2: My trusty Garmin 110 is at it again - it just would NOT pick up my heart rate belt. I don't know why the watch and the belt weren't communicating, but it just wasn't going to happen today. I finally gave up trying, and just went ahead with my run.

Win #2: I didn't let the Garmin fail get me down, I did the 5 miles in about 41 minutes using RPE (rate of perceived effort), and kept my eye on the mirror to make sure I was maintaining good form.

w/u: 200 swim, 100 pull-buoy, 100 kick, 100 pull-buoy, 100 kick, 200 swim
Drill: 200 single-arm drill as 4x50 drill/swim
Main: 200 TPace +:03
total: 1200M

Elle: I did the swim workout in almost exactly 30 minutes. I felt good, the swim went well. And no headache, yay!

Webb: We left the gym and it was significantly colder than when we entered. It was downright frigid. While we were making our way to the bus stop we saw a bus cruise by. That. Sucked. But then ...

WIN #3: Elle caught sight of another bus a half-block behind the first. We picked up the pace and made it just in time to catch a warm, frightening ride home. Seriously, do Boston bus drivers get paid for the number of laps they complete? She was driving that thing like she was on the NASCAR circuit.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

30 for 30: Day 4: Listen to Your Body

Webb: Today's post was supposed to be titled something like "Testing Our Limits," or some other descriptor indicating we did a swim test. Instead, we had a reminder that sometimes to achieve your overall goal, you have to abandon short-term plans.

w/u - 200 easy swim, 100 pull-buoy, 200 Fingertip Drill as 4 x 50 (25 drill, 25 swim), 100 easy swim.
The Test - 3x 300 FAST with :30 rest. "The goal is to swim at the highest average speed possible. Watch the clock and get your time on each 300. All 300s should be with :15 of each other. Average the time for all three 300s and divided the average by three to establish a T-pace for a 100m distance. This particular pace is used to determine threshold pace.” - Gale Bernhardt, "Swim Workouts for Triathletes, 2nd edition"
Elle did NOT give today a thumb's up
c/d - 150 easy swim

Elle: I was excited to do the test today, it wasn't going to be IF I improved my time, but by how much. I was really feeling that I've made some serious gains in my swimming, and today I'd see some numbers. I started the warm up, but after 400 meters, a sudden, massive headache came on like a gun shot to the cranium. I don't remember the last time I had a headache that bad, that fast. I swam a bit more to see if it would go away, but sadly, it most certainly did not. The pain was so intense, I felt nauseous. I had to leave the pool. I did some stretching, but finally just had to give up and hit the shower. I was really disappointed, but there was no way I could have finished today's swim.

Webb: Although we have been inconsistent with our swim training, our mini-swim focus early in the training year must still be paying dividends. I swam each of my three 300s faster than my first test (Week #4). Additionally, all three intervals were faster than their respective intervals from the first test. The result was a :03 plus drop in my T-Pace. I'm looking forward to doing this test in April to see how effective the "30 for 30" plan is. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

30 For 30 in March is ON

Elle: So there was some post-Ragnar soreness to deal with. We did a SLOW run along the dry river, averaging a 9:30 min/mile, every step was a painful reminder of running over 18 miles in a 30 hour period. A couple of days later, a nicer 5-miler around the University of Arizona, and I was starting to feel my legs again. But enough of the warm, sunny paradise that is Tucson, it was back to Boston!
Running around the lovely U of A

I arrived back in Boston at midnight to a cold, rainy/sleety mix. And first thing in the morning, an 8:30am meeting. I was mentally and physically exhausted. The contrast of the sunny, pleasant Arizona sky to the grey, frosty, rainy Boston streets was like a cold splash of water to the face. And after making it through the day, trudging home at 5pm to the toasty, womb-like apartment, the last thing I wanted to do was head back out, put on a swim suit, and jump in the pool. And since street cleaning has started, I knew there wouldn't be any parking spots when I got done with the swim, which meant I'd have to take the bus. Ugh.
But with this being the very first day of "30 for 30", quitting on the first day wouldn't really set the tone of achievement this month is supposed to be all about.

SO, I bundled up, and headed out into the snow.
My new Blue Seventy Vision Goggles

The bus was pulling away just as I got to the stop. Great. Luckily, another one came along about 5 minutes later. I finally got to the gym, went to the locker room, and there was music. Oh, that's cool, I thought, they've started piping music in here. Then I realized, no, it was a girl in the shower playing her music. On her phone? A water-proof radio? Who knows. It was kind of nice, although a bit strange.
I thought I had timed it so that I was arriving after the Masters Swim group was done. Nope, I arrived right with them. But luckily they leave one lane open, so I was all set. All set for an open water simulation, that is! Who knew the Masters swimmers could make such a ruckus in the water! It felt like every other breath I took ended up in a mouth full of splash. But I took it all in stride, and treated it like an open water swim practice. Which was good, I ended the workout with a feeling of confidence and accomplishment. I only did 1500M, and it took about 40 minutes (I took my time on the drills), but I was proud that I had even made it to the pool tonight. Also, I bought a new set of goggles from the nice people at Triple Sports when we were in AZ, and was excited to give them a try. And they didn't disappoint - they were comfortable and didn't leak. Sweet.

THE WORKOUT: 1500M Pool Swim
200M: warm up
200M: swim buoy drill
200M: catch-up drill
200M: fist drill
400M: 4 x 100M (on 2:15)

200M: strong effort
100M: cool down