4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for the ‘swim’ Category

25 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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25 days to the Chicago Marathon!  Writing daily posts is actually going a long way to keeping me thinking about my training and making the extra effort to get my workouts in.

After not making it to the gym to swim yesterday morning, I did make it last night.  My gym has open swimming from 8-9:30.  I went about 8:45, thinking it would start to empty out, but that was not the case.  All lanes were used, and I struggled in the ‘slow’ lane along with some others.  My last swim was at the NJ State tri in late July, at least 6 weeks ago.  So, a lot of rust on my already sad skills.  Just did 600 meters, and now need to get to the pool twice a week leading up to my tri in Red Bank on 10/3.

Then, this morning, not only got up early to get my run in, but extended my normal morning run to 7 miles.  In the morning, I typically run 4-5.5, but this is the time to start pushing.  I was definitely feeling a little off kilter after softball Monday and swimming yesterday, 2 activities I had not done in a while.  After getting good and warmed up in the first few miles, I really hit my stride heading down 1st Ave (in the new bike lane), and ran at a nice hard effort to finish up.  The last 2 miles were under 19 minutes, which is faster than I have been running lately on those same 2 miles in recent morning workouts in East River Park.  I love the symmetry of the route today.  Nice looking loop, and looks like a mini model of NYC. – http://www.dailymile.com/routes/273674-running-route-in-new-york-ny

Undecided about tomorrow.  I want to make sure I’m well-rested for the 18 mile race on Sunday, which will be 20 for me as I will add 2 miles at the start.  Not sure if I will take tomorrow off and run Friday, or run tomorrow and take off Friday.  Either way, I’d like 2 running days off before Sunday.  I’m thinking I might do a light bike ride tomorrow and run on Friday.  We will see…

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Written by SCL

September 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

Starting to taper for New York City Triathlon

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Have started scaling back the bike rides and runs, in preparation for the New York City Triathlon, in 8 days!  I will still be swiming hard over the next week, since my swimming is so bad.  Swam twice this past week, but prior to that, it had been a month since I last swam.  Yesterday morning swam about a half mile, and it really wiped me out.  Made sure several of my laps were side stroke and back stroke, both of which I’ll be using a lot to get through the 1500 meters swim portion next Sunday.  I’ll plan to swim twice again this week, perhaps Monday and Thursday.

This morning, did a 4 mile run down to East River Park and back.   Will run once or twice again this week, but nothing more than 5 miles.  Will probably get 1 easy bike ride in this week as well.

I’m curious to see what the swim is going to be like in the Hudson River.  My assumption was that the river flowed from north to south, but that is not the case.  It is a tidual estuary, which means that it flows both north and south, depending on the tide.  From what I’ve read, the flow is south when between high and low tide, and the flow is north when between low and high tide.  For next Sunday, low tide is 7am, and my start time will be close to 7:30.  So, it will be starting to move to high tide, which I think means I’ll be swimming against a slight current.  The way the staging works, the elites and most of the women start  prior to 7am, and the men have the later start times, mostly after 7am.

Still really nervous about the swim, and how it might then negatively affect the rest of my race, but super excited as well.

Written by SCL

July 18, 2009 at 9:12 am

Hill Repeats in Central Park

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The twist… on my bike, not on my feet!  First time I’ve done hill repeats on my bike.

I only have 19 days till the New York City Triathlon, and think I need a little more hill work on my bike.  So, last night, biked out to Central Park, did 3 hard repeats of Harlem Hill, and then a full loop of the park, including the hill again.  In all, it was about 17 miles.  Feeling great today, with the exception of my constantly nagging knee and groin.  Good news on the groin is that I found a stretch online that works the exact muscle causing me the most pain.  Trying to do that stretch once a day.  Still keeping it firmly in check.  Tendinitis in my knee is not as bad as it had been, and I’m continuing to ice it, and focus on lower body exercises at the gym.

Had a couple of other good workouts over the last week.

Ran 5.9 miles over the Williamsburg Bridge and back on Sunday morning.  It was a beautiful morning.  About 66 degrees with low humidity.  The sun was strong though, and was tiring on the bridge.  I had to stop at a bodega for water, which would not be necessary in cooler temps.  The bridge was not too crowded, and it was cool to see 3 other runners both times I crossed the bridge.  Guess I wasn’t the only one doing that workout!

On Saturday morning, I did a long bike ride at my house in New Jersey, from Little Silver to downtown Freehold and back.  Came out to about 29 miles.  The return trip was done about 7 minutes faster, I think because of the wind, and also I think the return trip has more downhills.  Length of the bike portion of the olympic distance triathlon (24.4 miles) does not scare me at all anymore!  As I mentioned, I just think I should work on hills a little more.

Also got a run in midweek last week.  It was on Thursday night, when it kept raining on and off.  Rained hard for my first 2 miles, which helped keep me cool in the humidity.  Overall, had a nice 4.6 mile run.

Just trying to keep on keeping on, in spite of the ‘discomfort’ in my knee and groin.  Very excited about the upcoming New York City Triathlon.  Biggest issue for me is swimming.  I have not been in the pool since my last sprint triathlon in Harriman State Park 3 weeks ago, and of course, the pool I go has been closed for the last week for renovations.  It opens tomorrow, so tomorrow, I will need to go swimming!

Written by SCL

July 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

Discomfort vs Pain

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Was listening to the Steve Somers interview of Dave Lennon of Newsday from last night where they were talking about the Mets injuries, and Jose Reyes in particular, and discussing discomfort vs pain.  Discomfort is something you can continue to work through, where pain is when you need to shut it down.  It really hit home for me, because I’ve been having lots of discomfort lately in my legs.  I’m still running, through the discomfort, and hoping I can hold it at bay and turn it around, before it starts becoming pain.  Once we get to ‘pain’, then it will be time to take a break.  In addition to the thigh/groin issue I’ve been having for a few months, I’ve now starting feeling some tendonitis behind my left knee.  Time to ice religously, stretch daily and focus more on swiming and biking for lower impact on my legs.  Most years, I run hard in the winter and spring, and then dial it way back in the summer before picking it up again in September.  That break usually gives me the time to heal from any injuries that start up.  But, this year, with my focus on summer triathlons, I’m not taking the normal break that I usually get this time of the year.  A good goal, then, for future years, is to figure out how to stay injury free, while running year round.

Yesterday, managed to swim and run.  Was able to get up early to go to the pool at the gym.  Covered about a half mile in the pool.  It was an ugly half mile, with lots of breaks, and not a whole lot of good free style, but I’ll take it.  Half mile is the swim distance at next weekends sprint triathlon at Harriman State Park.  Last night I was supposed to play softball, but once the rain started coming down  around 5pm, the game was cancelled.  That freed up my time to go for a run last night.  

I felt obligated to run, since it was National Running Day.  My new favorite rainy day course is going down 1st Ave to East River, then down the East River bike path to Wall Street, and then turning around and running the reverse.  This run was not easy at all.  To start, I had some ‘discomfort’ at the start due to my injuries, and it took a little while to warm up.  Then, my legs just felt generally tired and dead.  I’m assuming this is because I was not fully recovered from the Brooklyn Half Marathon from Saturday.  I struggled through it, and finished the 5.2 miles in 50 minutes and change.  Actually, not bad at all considering my slower pace, and not catching a couple of traffic lights at major intersections.  Could be my imagination, but it seemed like there were more runners out on East River than I usually see, hopefully due to National Running Day.  As an aside, they’ve started digging up the entire sidewalk south of South Street Seaport, to at least Wall St.  I thought maybe this would be the site of the new Water Taxi Beach, but I see that the beach is already open!  Hopefully they get this construction done quickly so that we can get the full extent of the walkway back in this very crowded area.  

I know I’ll be fine for my tune up triathlon next week, but need to be careful to make sure my legs are OK for the New York City Triathlon, which is 7 weeks from Sunday.  In the meantime, I’m thinking about finding the time to go see a doctor about the thigh/groin injury to find out exactly what it is.

Tomorrow afternoon, heading out to Middlebury, VT.  Bringing my bike along – will try to get a good ride in on Saturday, and maybe a run as well on Sunday morning.

Written by SCL

June 4, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Posted in injury, running, swim

Think I messed up

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Last night, I decided I would go to the gym and swim, rather than run, to rest my legs for the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Good plan.  However, I did something kind of silly.  

Over the last few weeks, a nagging injury to my upper thigh/groin area, has gotten steadily worse.  Lately, I’ve been icing and trying to stretch daily, to try and loosen things up and get better.  But, the reality is that it has not gotten any better, and in fact, may have been getting worse.  My leg does not hurt when I walk and sort of does not hurt when I run (I can feel it when I start out, until it loosens up a bit), but I can definitely feel some pain when I flex my leg in certain ways, or when I do certain stretches. 

Anyway, when at the gym last night, I did some very light weight lifting before my swim.  I decided to have a look at leg machines to see if anything looked promising for exercising my thighs, and spotted the abductor/adductor machine.  Got on that, and felt like it was just what I needed, and worked the area where I am feeling pain.  So, without really thinking it through, I did 3 hard sets of both abductor and adductor, on a pretty strong weight.  Then went for my swim and didn’t think anything of it.  Until today, when I noticed my legs hurting more than expected.  Then, realization slowly washed over me.  Of course.  My thighs are in pain because of a rough new workout on muscles that are not used to that kind of work.  I’m sure the muscle soreness will not magically go away by 8am tomorrow for the race.  I can only hope that with a slow start in the race tomorrow, they reasonably loosen up and do not cause to much trouble in the race.  

I think I need to lower my 2:00-2:05 expectation to 2:05-2:10.  Drat…

Written by SCL

May 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Posted in gym, injury, swim

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Video update

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Video update

Written by SCL

May 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Posted in swim, video, weather

A Race With No (Good) Name

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Most races we run in have nice catchy names, worst case named after city or location (New York City Marathon, Austin Marathon, Brooklyn Half Marathon, etc), and in the best case, a wonderfully creative name (Grandma’s Marathon, Flying Pig Marathon, and my new favorite, Slacker Half Marathon).  A quick check at Daily Mile shows the following races happening on Sunday, all with nice names:

  • Spring Lake 5
  • 9th Annual Delaney Dash
  • 100 Miles of Nowhere
  • Together for Derek 5K
  • Great Hudson River Swim

The names of the races make it real easy to talk about, and to Google Search to see what other people are saying about the race.

I really would like to talk about my upcoming sprint triathlon, organized by New York Triathlon Club, on June 14, but the name is just not one that is easy to type, and it definitely does not roll off the tongue.  I guess what confuses matters is that they run both a triathlon and a biathlon at the same time.  The wonderful name: NY TRI/BI-ATHLON SERIES #1.  Isn’t that just so original!  All kidding aside, NYTC does put on wonderful events.  I’ve twice run their biathlons in Central Park, and would love to do more of their races if I had the time.  One does need to think ahead though, as the best races, especially the ones in Central Park, do sell out early.

Name aside, I’m super excited about the race.  This sprint distance triathlon will be a perfect tune up for the New York City Triathlon in late July – .5 mile swim, 16 mile ride, and then a 3 mile run.  It is in Harriman State Park, which I’m sure will be beautiful at that time of year.  Only problem is that it is a bit of a hike from NYC, starts early on Sunday morning, and I’m committed to picking up my sister-in-law and family at JFK the night before.

With the triathlon in mind, I made it to the gym this morning to swim in the pool.  First morning workout in a long time.  My 7 year old is off from school today and tomorrow, which freed up the time for a morning workout.  And a nice workout it was – actually swam 20 full laps of the pool, which I think is close to the half mile distance of the race.  My swim technique is awful, which, from a glass half full perspective, can only get better!  If I can get to the pool twice per week before the race, then I’ll have a good 5-6 workouts to figure out how to make it work.

Next up though, the Brooklyn Half Marathon, next Saturday, with it’s newly redesigned course.  More on that another time…

Written by SCL

May 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Posted in swim, triathlon

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Nice mid-week activity

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After getting a so-so run in on Tuesday night, my intention was to get two more good efforts in Wed and Thurs.  I’d have preferred to bike ride, but it was still simply too cold for me after work.

So, on Wed, I went to the gym for a swim.  Half hour in the pool, and did 26 pool lengths, still working primarily on breathing, and started to work in freestyle.  I’m starting to get the hang of breathing, but then having a tough time combining it with freestyle.  I am continuing to get better though, and I still have 3 months till the New York City Triathlon.

Last night (Thursday), I had a little extra time on my hands, by leaving work at 5:30.  So, decided to go for a longish run.  Did my “3 bridges, 3 boros” run over the Williamsburg and 59th St Bridges, which is 10.3 miles.  That was my longest run since the Austin Marathon.  The run went pretty well.  My legs felt a little sore as I worked through the first few miles and over the first 2 bridges, but then I started getting into a good rhythm and really sailed over the 59th St bridge and down 1st Ave home.  My time was about 1:40, and while that is still slower than my runs earlier in the year, it was still under 10 mins per mile, which is fine for a long training run.  I was pretty wiped out afterwards and slept on the early side.  Not too sore today, which is good.

By the way, this was my first run over the 59th St Bridge (since I live on the Manhattan side, that is what I call it, NOT the Queensboro Bridge) since it’s centennial last month.  I’m hoping there are some commemorative events in May.  See PigtailsFlying coverage and thoughts here

I opted for the longer run since I really need to get myself ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  My last two Brooklyn halfs have been under 2 hours.  Not so sure I’ll be able to do that this year with my current lack of running, and particularly if the weather is too hot without putting in quite a bit more work.  I really wish this race was still in March and not in late.  Making it more difficult this year is that it starts with 2 loops around Propect Park, rather than the 1 loop at the end, as in years past.

I intend to get a good bike ride in with the really warm expected weather this weekend, and then will hopefully swim too.

Written by SCL

April 24, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Active, but didn’t get a run in

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Got home from my vacation on Thursday night with the intention of getting in a good bike, run and swim over the nice weekend.  Don’t you hate how things don’t work out as planned?  I guess with a swim and bike, I was close, but was not able to get a run in, and now am having additional muscle pains in my left leg.

To start, on Friday, I had a bunch of errands to run and then had to get my rental minivan returned to Newark Airport.  I was also trying to get my handyman to come to my house in New Jersey on Saturday to help me hook up my old dryer, after the installation of my new washing machine last week. (won’t go into any more details as this is a long story)  Anyway, he called me late morning on Friday and was available to come out on Friday afternoon.  This was perfect for me, as we really wanted to get that out of the way so we could do our laundry at the house Friday night and Saturday morning, but it killed the day for me in terms of exercise.  By the time I got out to NJ, then returned my minivan to Newark and got home, it was very late in the day, and time for my wife and I to turn around and head back out to NJ for the night to do 8 loads of laundry.  But, at least I had the foresight to bring my bike with me, as I planned to get a nice bike ride in on Saturday morning.

The ride went well, just as planned, and I had a nice 19 mile ride, from my house out west to Colt’s Neck on 537 and back.  I love riding my bike in NJ, as I can go out my door and go immediately into ‘hard ride’ mode.  In NYC, I need to get myself over a bridge, and in some cases, well out over the bridge before I can get into any sort of riding rhythm that doesn’t involve stopping for traffic lights every few minutes.  Even biking in Central Park first requires a 3 mile ride through the city traffic before I can start the workout, with the same 3 miles back afterwards.  I hope to get into a habit of bringing my bike out weekly to get a nice weekend ride when I can.  Only problem with that is I can’t leave the car unattended for fear of someone stealing the bike off the bike rack.

My 7 year old really wanted to go to the movies to see the Hannah Montana movie.  I was angling to take her next weekend, but some other late Sat afternoon plans changed, so we had the time, and she really wanted to go.  So, I relented and took her to Kips Bay for a late afternoon showing.  Also, before that, with the weather so nice, I took her outside so she could spin around on her bike a little.  Then Saturday night I was able to go to the gym to workout and swim.  I had not lifted weights in about a month, so took it easy there.  My swim workout was, as usual, kind of sucky, but I’m finding that I can do a front crawl type swim for several lengths of the pool without stopping.  This means my breathing technique is getting much better.  Good news.  But I still can’t put it together to do freestyle.

My intent was to go for a run on Sunday.  I had tickets to go see the Mets at Citifield, so needed to run first thing in the morning, or late in the day.  My wife was feeling kind of sick Saturday night and Sunday morning, so I stayed home to be around in case my kids needed anything.  Then, off to Citifield to see the Mets lose 4-2.  Citifield is a beautiful place, and a much better overall experience than Shea.  Losing Shea does make me sad, though.  I had a Saturday ticket plan for the last 15 years, and in the last couple of years got to at least 20 games per year.  But, Citifield has effectively priced me out and so I’ll probably only be going a handful of times this year. 

During the day on Sunday, I noticed my left leg was in a little pain.  The left side is where I’ve had some kind of nagging groin pull for the last few months that has not gone away.  The pain I started feeling yesterday was more in the upper inner thigh, on the side or even back of the leg.  Not sure if it is related to the groin, or if it was caused my my bike ride or swim Saturday, but I thought it best to not run, and instead, start up a serious ice regiment.  So, I’ll be focusing on icing my leg the next few days, and trying to decide if I run should run easy or not while I wait for the pain to go down.

Anyway, off to work.  Catching up from missing a week of work will not be fun, so we’ll see how much time I have for exercise this week.

Written by SCL

April 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in bike, gym, injury, running, swim

Catching up

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Been a bit active over the last few days.

Last Thursday I went for a late bike ride to Central Park.  First nighttime ride of the year – it is finally getting warm enough for me.  Love biking in Central Park late night when it is empty.  Can fly through without worrying so much about those damn runners 🙂

Spent Saturday morning on another round of weed and vine clippings in my New Jersey front yard, which is more strenuous than you might think.  Keeps me sore for 2 days!

Went swimming Sat night.  Still very sad looking…

Had a nice 29 mile bike ride yesterday.  Sun was out, and weather was warm.  Unfortunately, there was a very strong, cold breeze.  First biked up to JackRabbit’s new location on Lex and 85th to buy a new helmet.  My old $35 Target helmet just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Got a real one, $120 real, that is light and has lots of air holes for proper circulation.  I’m really happy with it so far.  It really makes a big difference in comfort.  Then biked over 59th St Bridge and down through Queens and Brooklyn to the 68th St pier.  The views from that pier are breathtaking – Verrazano Bridge on one side, and Statue of Liberty / downtown Manhattan on the other side, with lots of ships out in the water.  The winds were also breathtaking, but in a different way!  Then biked back up to Manhattan.  See my route here.

With the sun trying to come out now, I’m thinking of sneaking out of work now (shouldn’t be considering sneaking out when it is almost 6pm!) to get a nice run in tonight.

In other awesome news, my softball team is back on this year!  We should be starting up in the next week or 2.  I’m only leery because softball is where I sometimes pull a hamstring early in the year (which always suprises me as I am a runner.  Guess it is a different kind of running).  I’m very afraid of hamstrings right now, after continuing to read through what PigtailsFlying is going through.

Finally, spring is officially here today, with Mets Opening Day, and a nice 2-1 win over the Reds.

Written by SCL

April 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Posted in bike, swim