October 2005 Archives

October's Swan Song

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I was up at 5 this morning, intead of the usual 6. I guess I opted out of the "fall bacK' extra hour's sleep. It was probably just as well, because the whole house did, too.

This morning's run was nice. I was hoping to do 12km, but I spotted M, who I haven't run with in forever. It turns out he and his fiancé were recovering from the Niagara Marathon. She opted out after 2km due to injury, but M and I did the shorter but popular NAC route, around the canal.

The topics of conversation ranged from marathons to triathlons to swimming (all of which M has more experience on than I do). It filled the time nicely, and prevented me from noticing that I was going a little faster than last weekend.

And the weather? Brilliant. October has featured wind, more rain, and even more dreary, overcast skies. Blue sky has been rare, and frost common. So to have the warmest day in weeks fall on a Sunday was a real blessing, and not one to be wasted.

Thus, after vacuuming out the car, I got changed, put some air in the tires, and took the-bike-that-must-not-be-named out for a spin. I didn't have anywhere I especially wanted to go, so I just wandered the neighbourhood. I ended up putting in almost 18km at a leisurely, tourist-type pace. Still, I would have hated to have been worried about pace today. Today was about savouring what might just be the last nice day of the year.

Kick Set and Endurance

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With cycling relegated to dreamland, and running slowly ramping up towards a tough spring, swimming remains the lone invariant in my weekly training schedule. Twice a week, with far more consistency and dedication than I show the other, more enjoyable, sports, I find myself in the pool.

Today included 2x225 kick sets, using different strokes. Knowing how awful my flutter kick is, I was tempted to do back then free (to really focus on my weakness), but decided that wouldn't be fair to my lanemates. In the end, I opted for breast, then free. The breast was doable, not easy, but not overly tough. The free kick was madness. I was slow, and I worked.

The main set was 8x100m, the first 4x 25 choice/75free steady, the last 4x 100 free descend. All of this was on 2:10 pace time, which seemed generous to me. The first four I found myself following someone else, which made it easy to relax, stay aerobic, and concentrate on form. My freestyle form actually felt really good on these, plus I seemed to be getting 20-25 seconds rest between the sets (which meant I was doing 1:45-1:50 100s, which would have thrilled me last spring). Once the second half started, I led the lane out, and worked harder and harder as the set progressed on pulling with power, and speeding up my turnover. The set got hard, no doubt about it. My final 100 came in around 1:35, which I think is a PB for me. (This, despite the fact that my form fell apart at least a little bit in the last 100.) I know I felt wrecked for a good minute or two when it was over.

The best part was that my left knee did not seem to be bothering me. Backing up a bit, my knee bothered me most of the day yesterday, including during sections of my 5+km run. I was careful to stretch well after running last night, and before swimming this morning. Let's hope it was a fleeting problem.

Bike Dreams

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Last night, for the second time in about a week, I dreamt I was riding my bike. Part of me wants to issue a denial, explaining that I'm a runner, first and foremost. Part of me just wants winter to be over, so I can get back out on my bike.

The weather continues to be nasty. Cold and rainy again, though for a change not windy. Still, I'm anxious to get a run in today. Maybe not exactly looking forward to it, but want to get it done, nonetheless.

As for the dream, well I can't take it too seriously. After all, I'm pretty sure California doesn't really use snowmobiles to flatten out tall grass for bike paths. I'm also sure that jackalopes aren't native to California. So maybe the dream wasn't one of those deep, meaningful, "memo from your subconscious" dreams after all.

Short Swim

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I was up at 5, as usual. At 6am, though, the pool door was locked, and it remained so until 6:10. Apparently, the lifeguard was late. Oh well.

By the time we were in the pool and warmed up, the planned workouts had to be scuttled.

The main set consisted of 8x25 on :40, alternating back and breast, followed by 8x50 on 1:05, alternating free and choice (aka breast). I chose to go last in the lane for the 25. It turned out to be a wise choice, as my backstroke was awful today. My body roll was ok, my kick was weak, but my arms were awful - uncoordinated, weak and out of synch.

On the other hand, I chose to go first in the lane for the 50s. Since the coach likes having all the lanes start at once, I ended up with a clear view of the guy in lane 3 beside me for the entire 50. When we finished the first 50 (freestyle), the coach pointed out to him that the reason he had finished a few metres behind me was that he wasn't finishing his pull.

What? When did this become a race?

Immediately, apparently. Though she hadn't meant it that way at all, suddenly all my mind wanted to do was go hard. /sigh I stayed clear of him for the even (choice) iterations, but freestyle was more problematic. I was well ahead of him for the second freestyle, using my strong turn to break away from him. By the start of the third freestyle 50, though, I was breathing hard. All my iterations seemed to come in around :45-:50, which meant that I was sucking air for the 15-20 seconds between each iteration. Yuck. Anyways, the third freestyle we were even until the turn, when I pulled ahead. For the last freestyle iteration, he was ahead of the turn, and might have still been ahead of me after the turn. That's when pride kicked in. I straightened up my kick, started pulling hard, and went into oxygen debt. I got up maybe half a body length, and held it until the wall.

At which point I spent some time feeling awful. Why do I do this to myself?

The rest of the set involved pulling and swimming with paddles. The freestyle part was ok, but when I opted to try backstroke all the problems with my backstroke pull became obvious. Yuck.

I'm sure the coach won't let me, but I think I'll stick to free and breast as much as possible, for now.

Running Weekend

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I was going to run on Friday, but instead rented movies. Maybe watching Saint Ralph counts as half credit?

I did get out Saturday morning for an easy 5km. Went a little slower, felt much better than Wednesday. Tried to keep my shoulders relaxed, but didn't worry about cadence or footstrike.

This morning, I ran with a group of ladies from my old marathon group. We did the route through the arboretum, probably one of the last runs through there this year, as it is impassible once the snow has fallen. Once back at Bank street, they turned back to the store, and I continued on to Pretoria. I think my pace picked up a bit, but I felt relaxed, and more strong than I have in weeks.

This week is the first time in a month I've gotten in 3 runs in a week. My goal is to keep my runs short for now, but build my running frequency, and establish a consistent schedule. I'm sure that as I do, my strength will continue to return.

Ebb and Flow

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Ran last night. Tried to focus on rapid turnover with a quick footstrike and relaxed shoulders. Somehow, I ended up running fast. I couldn't seem to work on those elements without tearing along. Fortunately, the run was only 5km, so it didn't kill me. On the other hand, it wasn't as easy as it might have been a month or two ago.

One thing that was nice is that I could feel my core and upper body strength (for whatever they're worth) helping me towards the end. I was able to keep upright, and my armswing helped keep my cadence high as I fatigued.

I think I really needed to run before dinner on Wednesdays. While I ran late enough to not feel my full stomach as I ran, I also ran late enough to feel how early it was when the alarm went off at 5:00am.

It was nice to see the stars this morning - it seems it's been overcast (and windy! and drizzling!) for ten days now. What wasn't so nice was scraping the frost off the car.

Our usual coach wasn't there. Instead we had Steve, who coached the summer session. Rumour has it he was a breaststroker, so when he offered a compliment and a tip on my breaststroke, I was all ears.

We had 5 in our lane, and for a change I led the way for most of the sets (the lone exception being the kick sets, where the ladies left me in the dust). We did one set of alternating 75s, one 25 breast drill/25 breast/25 free and the other 25 back drill/25 back/25 free. It was sort of funny. I would zip out to a huge lead in the first 75, but as soon as I got to backstroke the rest of the lane would reel me in. I think that says it all on how I feel about both strokes.

I'm continuing to scheme and plan for my slow build towards the start of marathon training. Right now, especially having been lazy about skipping runs this summer (generally because I was beat from swimming and cycling), the whole thing looks pretty daunting. I'm hoping to slowly reestablish a disciplined running schedule, even if my runs all start out fairly short.

Fooled

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I'm starting to feel my strength returning. After a rough week at swimming last week, yesterday was...ok.

We did some vertical kicking and sculling yesterday, which is always tough. 1:45 of continuous vertical kicking (30s flutter, 45s breast, 30s dolphin) definitely had me "feeling it". After the kicking, we were given an endurance set. We had the choice of doing free or back, but my back is so weak I spent as much time doing free as I could.

I'm trying hard to focus on technique at the moment. I've accepted that I don't have the right body type to be an amazing swimmer, but I'd like to get to the point where I'm a decent technician. The problem, of course, is that using proper technique when you're tired is tough, both physically and mentally.

When I'm in a cynical mood, I sometimes think that swimming has fooled me. I very much prefer endurance over strength, aerobic over anaerobic. A huge aerobic capacity will get you a long way in running (and presumably in cycling, too), but swimming needs power. And power is never something I ever had, or especially wanted to have. So how did I get roped into this swimming thing, anyways?

Sunday Brunch

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I'm determined to be in rest mode at the moment. I celebrated this new season by blowing off running on Friday and Saturday. Result? Zero guilt.

This morning, my old marathon training group was having a reunion brunch. Some of the group I still see at two or three times a month, but some have gone on to injury, pregnancy, or different pace groups (hmm maybe that was me).

First, though, came the run. I ran with a couple of old friends. We set a goal for 10km, but in the wind and cold 7 seemed enough for the ladies. I pushed on an extra kilometer or two at a higher pace, trying to stretch out my legs a bit. It felt tough, but blessedly short.

Afterwards, we convened for brunch at K's house. Just about every face was familiar (except the newborn's!). It was neat to reconnect with everyone, some of whom I hadn't seen for a year or more. Group marathon training is a strange setting - we spent literally hours and hours together, so even if we seldom see each other in street clothes, we all know at least a few of each other's stories.

All in all, it made for an outstanding morning.

I'm still dreaming and plotting and scheming the road ahead, training-wise. It's part motivational. Actually, I suppose it's all motivation based. I'm eager to smash a few records next year, and to take another step towards realizing my (imagined?) potential. Since this is my officially-designated "rest season", scheming is a much better idea than running out the door.

Cheers!

Making the Turn

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Back to Normal

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It's been a good week. I'm slowly recovering from Sunday, and I'm slowly getting back into my usual routine.

After a day of rest, apple-picking and turkey eating on Monday, I was back in the pool Tuesday morning. The sets were tough, and I was taking as much rest as I could between them. I did get a couple of excellent pointers on freestyle which should help me in the long run. Towards the end, we did a 200m build freestyle, which I thought might be more than I was capable of. Since we swam 7 across the four lanes, I could see how I was doing compared to some of the other swimmers. For the first few turns, my stronger turning (runners legs!) gave me a lead which was eaten up in the rest of the swim. After about 75m, though, I was on my own. Which was a bit weird, because I certainly did NOT feel as though I had my A game.

In the end, I did over 2km, and felt it all day. Still, since it was swimming, and not running, it didn't make my calves or quads much worse than they were. Plus, I slept well that night.

Wednesday, I got out for a 3km run with my sister. We might have done longer, but it was our first time running together in a while, and I was underdressed for the horrid weather we were having. Wind, rain, cold, yuck.

This morning's swim focused on flip turns (the less said, the better!), so the distance was less severe than Tuesday. I felt much stronger than Tuesday, though maybe still not 100%. At least my leg muscles had stopped aching.

I've been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts, hoping to sneak in one or two more bike rides before the snow flies, but right now those prospects are looking grim. Oh well, there's always next year.

Ottawa Fall Colours Half Marathon

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The curse struck again. Yet another half marathon that fails to go according to the original plan.

This was never intended to be an A race. At no point did I ever predict that I would post the kind of time I feel I'm truly capable of. I figured I might set a PB, but only on a perfect day, and only then because all my other half marathons have been disasters of some sort.

When I got sick, really sick, two weeks ago, this race dropped from a B race to an event. Something I'd do. I'd enjoy it, celebrate being a runner, and take whatever the day would offer. Which I guess is what I did.

Small Victories

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Sometimes, it's an epic. Sometimes, it's small potatoes.

Tonight was no great feat. No obstacles were overcome. No milestones were achieved.

I won't talk about strep, or about sore muscles, lack of sleep, or frustration. None of that matters. Sometimes, you live, and sometimes, life happens to you. None of that matters.

I ran tonight. It hadn't happened for two weeks, but hit happened tonight.

It's a start.

Down Time

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This week hasn't been very much fun.

I missed work Monday, but was well enough to work starting Tuesday. For the most part, work took everything out of me, and I came home exhausted. There certainly wasn't any extra energy for swimming or running.

The flu gave way over time to a chest cough that I can't seem to go very long without catching. I've run with that cough in the past, but since I don't have a pressing need to right now, I haven't.

I was planning on running the Run For Cure this morning, but my wife wasn't feeling well (she's been sick, too), so I ended up walking it. We had a big group of friends out, and I ended up being the adult who ran with the older kids across the finish line. It certainly seemed to make them happy.

Hopefully, this coming week will see me slowly getting back into action. This Sunday's race isn't being taken TOO seriously, but I'd still like to have a run or two in my legs before then.

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  • Cheryl: Right on Wendy! read more
  • Wendy: That swimming fitness will be back before you know it! read more
  • deene: you have to listen to your body, you probably needed read more
  • Cheryl: The heat, mixed with the humidity were extreme and it read more
  • Wendy: Sorry to hear you were so ill, Warren, but good read more
  • Cheryl: Sounds like a tough go! It's a shame that everyone read more
  • deene: anything timed in seconds and with repeats sound tough to read more
  • jank: Ease comes soon while riding in a group. As long read more
  • warren: Sadly, no. Nor did I delve into the Leguminosae family read more
  • jeff: WOOHOO! did you ever come up with a name for read more

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2005 is the previous archive.

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