Monday, February 28, 2011

Minor fail

I had a pretty challenging swimming workout today:

Some 1200yards warm-upish and then 2x100yards @ 1:35, 8x100 @ 1:50, 2x100 @1:35, all back to back. I kinda knew that those 100 @ 1:35 would be a long stretch and that I might drown in process but I was ready to do my very very best. Apparently my very very best was not enough, because I did not make the 2nd intervals already.
Already the first was only so-so, I only had time to look at the clock and had to start the second 100, which I did in 1:37ish.
8 100s @ 1:50 were easy-peasy, I did them roughly in 1:37-1:42 and felt strong and efficient and then last 100s came. I really tried but pushed only 1:36 for the first one and I am not entirely sure for the second one, I think it was around 1:39. But it was more like 200 than 2x100 because I had no rest between.

I do not know how to go faster. I really don't. Longer strokes? Faster strokes? Probably faster longer strokes:) I know that other no-swimming-background people have the same problem, we do not know how to work hard in pool. YET!!!
Before (December and prior) I would just kick like crazy and that will propel me forward, but I don't do that anymore, I am trying to save legs for running and biking and use my arms instead. Ok, I tried to kick like crazy but it seems that I have forgotten how to do that. Before (you know, prior to December) my legs used to hurt a lot, not my arms, only my legs, now only arms hurt and even they don't hurt as much as I think they should.

I think that I am getting some swimmer's muscles on my arms, I can sometimes see them, although they are mostly covered by fat. I am fat and out of shape, but who is not in February, and few days before period, right? I should ditch that stupid car, it is making me fat because I do not walk as much as I used to and now I can actually go and buy food.

Maybe I will ride a bike to work tomorrow. Today was a perfect day for a bike ride (well, not perfect, but better than other winter days in Michigan in February) but I could not go and try out my new bike because I had promised to another intern at work that we would go to the movies. I have already canceled on him last week so I could not stood him up again today. We saw Just go with it, it was pretty funny. (I am not a very sophisticated movie watcher, I hate movies that make you think. But I am sophisticated enough to think that Mean Girls is one of the stupidest movies ever.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just an easy 11 miler

Or rather 11ish. I hate the Garmin. It is such a stupid gadget and it does not work properly. Is it only mine or are all of them like that? I wish I did not buy it.

Maybe it is just tying to tell me that we do not spend enough time together or something. I use it very sporadically and then when I do something aways seems to go wrong for me. I have used it pretty often in France and it worked great. Now when I use it twice, three times a month it is rebelling against me. I guess we just need to bond again.
I wanted to actually measure 11 miles today and not do it by my time/pace/distance estimations like I usually do it. But my Garmin froze before I start running.

So I did not have a watch or anything. I ran on my usual out-and-back trail so I know where 3.25miles is and I kind of know where 4.5miles might be so I just added another estimated 1mile and turned back. I am sure than I cannot be off by more than 800m.

11miles was it for today. Pretty easy day.
Next week should be challenging swimming-wise and biking wise, running is just building!
I did 42ish miles this week, woo-hoo!!!!!

Can you believe that I have been here for 4 weeks already! I cannot believe it, it went by sooooo quickly! Unbelievable.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bike, run and NEW strength training favorite

I had a great run today, 9 miles with 5 strides at the end. Just cruising on a snow-covered trail. But honestly, I wish the snow would melt because I need to start with speedwork and am worried that sooner or later I will break something doing that on uneven paths in snow!!!)

I don't feel good about driving 8 miles to trail 5x/week. It just does not sounds right. I wish I could walk there or ride a bike. Will have to wait couple more weeks to being able to do that.

Actually, before this nice easy run I did a bike workout. Hill climbs. Not real hill climbs because I was on a stationary bike, but I pretended to be hill climbing. It was reasonably hard because I did 3x10min imaginary hill climbs and that's pretty long. Those hills have really tightened my ITB though, hm.

To recapitulate, I did the bike workout, then went running and then came back to the Y for some weights and to take shower (is it weird that although I have been living here for 1 month now I have showered in my apartment only 4 times. I spend all my free time at the Y...I am lame.)
I think I found a new strength training favorite: assisted chin ups and bar dips (well, that's two favorites). I cannot perform a good-form chin-ups and dips on my own so this machine is a blessing. Love it!
I did 3 sets of 10-12 exercises of chin-ups, dips, something similar to rowing, then something else for biceps/triceps/chest, hip abduction, hip adduction, 3x1min plank and 20 side crunches. I was a legs-slacker today but I shut my conscience up by telling myself that those climbs and snow running were more than enough for legs.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Little kids

Aren't the little kids the funniest creatures ever?

Yesterday I was at the Y in the locker room. I have a pink lock, no special reason for that. And a small girl came up to me, she was maybe 3-4 years old, and she was holding a black lock. So she came up to me and handed me her black lock, saying that she did not like her black one, that she wanted a pink lock. She gave me her lock, took mine and off she went. I was laughing so hard.
Eventually her mom persuaded her that she cannot take my lock and promised her that she would buy her a pick lock next time they go to a store.

I was grocery shopping today (luxury of having a car:))and there was another small girl who was telling her mom about her invisible little horse. Mom asked her whether the horse was real and she said that of course it was, that it was just invisible and only she can see it. And then she went on saying that her horse loves carrots and apples.

I also saw one little guy screaming and throwing himself on a floor because his dad did not want to buy him something, which was not that cute and funny.

Today is a rest day (down week this week) so I have nothing to write about. I could also write about living in Mexico but I will keep that one for later.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Swimming mystery solved

Actually two mysteries and they are not real mysteries but...

Looking back at my swimming workouts, I see the pattern that I am not able to hit my paces if I do something stupid the day before (arms, back weights) or if I do a lot of paddle work during the workout before the hard intervals.
For example on Tuesday I did no paddle work and I felt great on intervals later. Last week, paddle work and I did not hit the paces. Today, the same, a lot of paddle work (4x25 with bands and paddles only and then 3x200s at steady pace, so it was even harder than usual) and I could not hit my paces for 150s afterwards. I tried but I could not move!
Actually come to think about it, maybe it is not that I am too tired after paddles, because it is just weirdness of using only arms as opposed to paddles. Because then I took 1 min complete break and did 100s and I was able to hit paces, although it was a complete surprise to me! It is either that that 1 min break helped me a lot, or that my theory about paddles squeezing all strength out of me is not valid.
I know I am not making much sense here, I should ave thought this through before writing this, but whatever, hardly anyone reads it anyway.
So and my ability to hit paces on 100s even after paddles leads to another "mystery solved". Efficient form! I tried really hard on those 100 to rotate the hips, keep high elbows, keep chin tucked in, not to lift head when breathing and use core strength. And it seems that it worked (since I was able to hit paces even after paddle work assuming my theory about paddles killing me for the rest of the workout is valid).
Great! Keep up a good work, mmmonyka!!!
I went to do some arms, core, back strengthening exercises afterwards.

I also did 9 miles + strides before swimming. I saw 5 little dears, one warrior dogs that freaked me out and parts of my run were more like high knees drill and not like actual running since I had to run through snow because there was not path in snow in all parts yet. This snow running is a great workout, by the way. I must use different muscles to stabilize myself and it always leaves me pretty tired and sore.
Although I am not sure whether this is good for the ITB. It is either very bad because my knee and ITB must work extra hard on uneven surface with sliding in every direction. Or it is very good because using all muscles helps me to eliminate any muscle imbalances in my legs and thus helping the ITB.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My running routes were mostly cleared of snow when I got there this afternoon!!!! Grrr. I was somehow able to run on road edges where there was little bit of snow but it is not the same so I cut my run short at 6miles because I did not want to push the luck.
I will need to add 3 miles to other runs in the week. Hopefully I will be able to run on trail tomorrow.

After the run I went to the Y for a bike workout, which was only 1 hour at 135-150HR. Easy peasy.

I did few legs strengthening exercises and some core exercises and stretched.

I am sooooo hungry!!! I need to eat something although it is pretty late already.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Speedwork, hooray!

These are hard times...because of snow.
Maybe it would not be that hard if I were like other people and ran on cleared roads. But because I am not like other people, I do not run on cleared roads.

To do my 7miles with 4x2min hard w/ 1 min jog I found a nice road covered with snow. (I actually did 7.5miles due to distance miscalculations) It would not have been too bad if snow had been packed and hard, but it was kinda melting and just blah. So I was sliding in all possible and impossible directions and even with those fast parts my pace was 8:20ish. Hm. But I guess that the pace is not very important, it is effort that counts now, right?

Although this was not one of my best workouts, I LOVED it. Past 2-3 weeks were kinda blah running-wise, I did not really enjoy it (except for few runs on the trail). But today, that mini-workout got me all excited about running again.
I have never thought about this, but today I have realized that I really like speed workouts. They are my favorite training.
Easy long runs are good, but do nothing but easy runs for a couple weeks is not fun for me. Although interestingly I would not mind doing only easy runs 2-3 years ago. This and next week is mostly easy runs and then hopefully the coach will throw in more speed stuff- although I have no idea where I am going to run that if winter continues.

I also had a swim workout in the evening and I felt great. Main set was kinda long and thus hard 4x (250, 100, 5x50), but send-offs (is that how it is called???) were very reasonable so I had enough time to take few deep breaths before starting next interval. I tried hard to use core strength, not only arms. Although I am not sure whether I have any core strength and what it means to use it, I did my best. But as you can imagine it was hard since I had no idea was I was supposed to do:)
I think I need a new swimsuit. I have not used this one very often before I went to UCLA last september but I have had this one for over 5 years and well, it is not in a great condition. I am worried that one day I will find myself naked...

Monday, February 21, 2011

6 months & 3 weeks

3 weeks in a row when I hit 39 miles. Let me repeat that, 3 weeks of 39 miles!

It is not spectacular, but putting this into perspective it is awesome. Last time I hit 39 was one week in October; before Oct I was in high 20s or low 30s and after Oct I got hardly over 30miles/week.
Being able to do 3 weeks of 39miles is great! It has been 6 months now that I have not experienced almost any ITB issues. Of course there were few days when I felt it and had to take it easy for a couple days, but 6 months is a huge progress. For past 2 years I have run for 3 months and then have spent 1 month curing ITB. Now I got 6 months!!!

I am 49% sure it is a combination of low mileage and soft running surface.
I am 51% sure that it is only soft-surfaces related because even if I run low mileage but run on a road (or a treadmill, I tried it once), ITB starts bothering me.
So now I am hoping I could eliminate low mileage from the equation and get the mileage to 50s. 50miles is a breaking point- ITB hits when I get to 50 but I mostly ran on roads. 50s would be optimal, running-wise. Not sure how that would fit into triathlon training but for now let's be excited about running, shall we?
Now I am going to go find some wood to knock on it.

I was hoping to take my new bike out for a ride today (who cares that it is freezing out. Bad weather does not exist, only cloths not warm enough) but we got more than 20cm of snow overnight so the bike will have to wait for our first date.

Today was a rest day and I again did not deal with it very well- I ate a lot. At least that muffin cake was a spinach muffin cake, so somehow healthy:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Training management

I have totally failed in that this week.

Due to weather and socializing, I kept postponing my faster runs for later until I realized on Friday that I have only 3 days left and 3 key workouts left. Ok, key workouts at this point are 8miles+strides, 11miles, 6miles with 5x1min fast, but still.

So after 8+strides on Fri and 11 yesterday I was supposed to do 6 w/ 5x1min fast today. The running conditions were not great-everything melted and then froze, but there are only 7 days in a week so I had to get it in. I found a ~300m stretch that was somehow clear and safe for faster efforts and did my run. It was nice to run faster, although speed is relative:)
And my poor legs...not used to this.
I wonder whether it would have been better to run those runs on a road during a week and potentially hurt the ITB or pack them to 3 days and potentially hurt something else. The later is probably better for me.

And my poor training management did not end there because I also had to do a swim/bike brick today. But that was ok, it is like cross training, right?
I did some bands and paddles intervals and then few with bands only and they were horrible. My legs go straight to the bottom and then the swim (if I can call it that) looks very interesting. I had to start laughing which did not help neither. I am surprised that the guard did not jump in to save me from drowning. They are not doing very good job over there.

I need to plan this better for weeks to come. I still have not found the optimal way to spread the workouts throughout the week.

It started snowing again:( Almost all snow had been already gone and I was hoping the weather will stay like it has been for past couple days but no such luck:(

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I wonder WHETHER I start to regret this

Couple random things to share:

1, I did 11 miles today, 8-and-a-small-change pace. Felt good, although my legs are still not used to long runs and I felt soreness afterwards, which vanished by now. I also did weight afterwards, legs only because I have swim workout tomorrow.

2, I have another proof that I am European. Apparently I am the only person who (has guts and )passes cars on one-lane roads. Nobody here does that?!?
Also, I am the only driver who on a highway or a two-lane road moves to the right lane to let the faster car pass. The American drivers do not have courtesy to do that, they keep going their slow speed in left lanes no problem and do not care about what's going on behind them. The Americans should go to Germany and see what driving on a highway really means! (There is no speed limit on most highways in Germany and you need to GO GO GO! Plus you are not allowed to ride in left lanes in Europe, unless you are passing cars.)

3, I did something incredible courageous, awesome, stupid, spontaneous today and that's what is causing my mixed feelings.
That extremely awesome thing that might prove very very stupid in few months is this:

I have been checking craigslist for bikes since I got here. More from the curiosity than anything else. And I saw IT this morning. 2008 Trek Pilot 10 with aerobars for sale. I talked with the guy, went to see the bike and bought it.
It is awesome, it fits me well, it is light and fast...well, at least compared to this.
The downside is that I have contract here only till the end of May and if I do not find a job here I will have to sell it or take it with me or I do not know what.
Other issue is that it is way out of my price range. It was not that expensive but it is definitely more expensive than a Walmart bike I was planning on buying.
But you know what? We live only once! I sleep on an airbed and use the box from that bed as my nightstand, so I am sure that I can make it. And I am sure that I am going to enjoy riding it a lot and that's what is the most important thing!

I talked with my sister and asked her for an advice. She told me that apparently I do not know her very well because she definitely was not a right person to ask because she would never buy a bike, of course (she has a sport scholarship in Arkansas, but is also the laziest person I have ever seen:). And she was like...Hm, don't you have like 3 bikes at home? Well, I do, but having a bike 6000 miles away from here won't make me a faster rider, will it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Birthday workout

No, it is not my birthday, it is my triathlon coach's bday and making others drown seems to make her happy:) I hope she does not mind that I am going to reveal her age here (she is amusing herself by training hard in Kona right now, so she is probably not going to read this so I think I am safe...). I did 37x100 yards!!! It is an absolute swimming record for me.
It was not actually that bad, since most of it was pretty easy, but I do not think I will stay with her until she turns 70, that will kill me:)
There was some hard effort at the end that I rocked so I am pretty satisfied and who cares that I could not lift my arms to my comp keyboard to do some work at work:)
And I am sorry for folks that did 37x200:)

I am also glad that PPC is more serious and reserved and therefore I should not expect any 37x300 or something similar on her bday, or?!?

I swam in the morning and then did 8miles and strides in the evening. Trail is getting better, snow is melting ( and I am getting fitter) so my pace is slightly improving.

Then I went out for dinner with my Slovak colleagues. They are leaving tomorrow, so my life should get back to its normal stereotype and routine!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just another day

Due to some unexpectable events yesterday (going to the NBA game with my new Slovak friends who by the way would be totally lost without me- I showed them where grocery stores are, took them out for lunch, to the game etc), I did not swim yesterday.
I ran 8 easy miles yesterday, not fun because everything is melting and I was sliding in all directions and got all wet. But I get to run on "my" trail, so no complains. It is awesome! I am not very proud of driving a car there 5x a week (7-8 miles from my place), with all those pollutants and stuff but what can I do??? I can't bike there because it gets dark early and I can't run on roads:( So I must pollute ( and spend money on gas).

Anyway, I had to do swim this morning. My swims are not spectacular these days. When I did that test almost two weeks ago I must have been in a great swimming shape or something, because past few days I can't hit my paces! There is a lot of work to do because I become an efficient, fast swimmer. But I surprised myself today at least in some intervals, because I (almost) hit my paces when swimming with paddles. But it took way too much out of me and then the rest of the workout was just blah. I mean not to bad, but not great.

After work I had 2 hours on a bike. It was awesome!!!!!! I kicked some serious virtual butts today! I was moving at pretty good clip (although kept HR in check) but I LOVED it. I was not bored at all. I never get bored working out. I can do 8 miles on track no problem, 2 hours stationary bike no problem. Ok, I used the planned route with screen during the bike ride today but still.
I love biking. Maybe I should do more run/bike and bike/run bricks and try duathlon.
I finished the bike with a short run, like a brick on a diet. 1mile (half at 7:30min pace to loosen up the legs after the ride, half at 7:00 pace). Pathetic, I know but that's as long as I can run on treadmill, I am not pushing my itb luck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What a small world

Aparently on Sunday I went skiing on a huge pile of garbage. But you know what? The hill looked so artificial that I totally believe it.

Today at work the most hilarious thing happened. I was eating lunch in cafeteria and there were two guys sitting at the table next to mine. They were talking and I thought I heard them talking Slovak (not that I do not know what Slovak sounds like, but they were far enough that I could not recognize whether they were speaking Polish, Czech, Slovak or Russian). So I pretended to go get ketchup and I walked by their table to hear better. And indeed they were speaking Slovak! So I stopped by and said hello (in Slovak). They looked at me with the funniest face expressions ever. They were not expecting to find another Slovak there. So they came to Michigan for R&D training and they are from the same location I used to work for in Slovakia! Pretty amazing. Ok, it's not that random since this is the same company but still, if I were not sitting at that table I would not have known. They are staying for one week, maybe I will ask them whether they want to go out for dinner with me or something.
I also think that there is more of them because I am 97% sure I heard someone talking Slovak (I am spending too much time hanging out with non-Slovak speaking people:) on a phone when I was leaving work. It sounded just like the manufacturing director from my location in Slovakia (who by the way is one of the handsomest men I have ever seen).

My colleague today tried to introduce me to our cooking chef at work because I casually mentioned that I should get married in next 3 or so months....

So those were some random fun facts. Now let's get serious.
Today happened what everyone was fearing: warm weather past few days when everything started to melt and then freezing temperatures
today. My trail did not look great today. I was still able to run there but I could not pick ups because I am sure I would have broken an ankle or two. I did 6 easy miles and will do pick ups some other day.

Then I went straight to the Y to do bike workout. Man, biking off running is probably harder than running off biking. I felt pooped ( you see, my English vocab is flourishing). Or maybe it is just that I was supposed to hit certain HR on a bike, whereas I don't have any target for a run when I run off bike. First 25 min were horrible, I was ok cardiovasculary but not musculary! I did 10min w/up, then steady riding and my quads hurt! Then I did 20sec sprints and although they were pretty hard (20s never felt longer) I felt much better on those than at the beggining of a workout. Maybe I should do this reversed brick more often, in case I decide to try a duathlon one day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Muffin cake

All you need is one cheap person who does not want to spend money on muffin cups, muffin dough and fruit. Mix everything together, spread on cookies baking sheet that came with your apartment and voilà you have a muffin cake!


Today is a rest day. Although I did not feel bad or anything, I just know that I cannot run because I might screw up the ITB. And I swim and bike only 3x/week and today is not the day. Well, rest day.

However, I do not know what to do, rest days are BORING. I have really nothing fun to do when I don't have any workouts planned. I know, I should get a life. Or maybe start applying for jobs. Or writing my thesis. But those are not fun things.

Maybe I should find a new hobby that I can do when I am not training. But what, when, where? I would love to play volleyball but I do not know how to go about it and find people that play.

Anyway, you know how I deal with boredom? I stuff my face. I know, not good. Not at all. But I made blueberry/banana muffins:

I know that it is not like what muffins are supposed to look like but I do not have any muffins baking pan, only this cookie baking sheet. And who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good. And it surely did taste yummy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How do you create a ski resort?

Firstly, you find a molehill. Then you sprinkle it with a little bit of snow. Afterwards, you build there as many chairlifts as you can fit onto a molehill. Et voila, you have a Midwestern ski resort!!!

But let's start from the beginning. We had spring-like weather today! In mid-40s. Wow, snow is melting, which is a good thing, my trail will get clear.
In the morning I did my long bike ride: 1h45min. I messed it up a little and therefore rode it much harder than I was supposed to. Well, maybe it will make me stronger:)

Then I promised my grandmother I will skype with her, so we talked for an hour or so, and of course she did not forget to tell me that all the running/biking/swimming is just waste of money because I am not a real athlete and therefore there is no point of doing it if I am not going to represent Slovakia on world championships etc. Horrible, just horrible.

Then I ran 6 easy miles again on my favorite trail and loved it. I wore only one t-shirt and one thin long-sleeved shirt! I wished the weather stayed like this. Or maybe I should have stayed in LA. I finished with 5 strides.

And then I went to the molehill. I did not know what it will be like but as soon as I saw it and had to laugh hard because this ski resort is one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. It is basically one hill (which is a huge overstatement) in the middle of a flat land. I wonder how it got there...
There were 6 chairlifts and couple ropes, but it was just so small and flat. Really boring. I did not like it at all, because it is way too easy for me, no challenge. But interestingly I experienced my first fall this skiing season.
I skied for 3 hours and went home because I spent 4 minutes on a lift and then was down in one minute. Ridiculous. I do not think I will go back. Maybe for snowboarding because it is good for beginners.

So this was a pretty eventful and very tiring weekend. I have a day off tomorrow, so my legs should be back to normal by Tuesday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

First time ever

It seems that recently I have a lot of first-time-ever happenings.

Today was the first time I did swim/bike/run in the same day.
Today was also my longest swim up-to-date (although I know I will beat it next week).

First I did a swim workout (4x (200, 100, 100) that was not that great because I was not able to hit my paces. I swam yesterday and it seems that my body cannot handle swim workouts on two consecutive days (yet). I also did 900yards with paddles, pure torture, that's a lot of yards with paddles, for me at least. I swam exactly 3000yards total. It is not much for many people but it is huge for me. If someone had told me few months ago I will swim that far I would not have believed.
I love the pool at the Y. Not really the pool itself but the fact that so far I have always had a line for myself. The pool is not crowded at all like I was expecting it to be.

Then immediately afterwards I hoped on a bike, because today was swim/bike brick. Some HR intervals that were not very hard though but I spent 1h30min riding!

Then I went to the grocery store to get some fresh food- I got apples and grapefruits (I love grapefruits) and Gatorade. Triathletes would be proud of me now. Because as a runner I do not usually drink and never eat during the workouts. But I was told that I needed to refuel during triathlon otherwise I will bonk big time, so I am going to give it a try next week on a bike.

And afterwards I rode (the car, I still can't believe it) to my favorite trail for a run. I was secretly hoping it will be groomed but no such luck. But there was a path made by people walking. It is not perfect but ok. I met 1 runner, couple of dog walkers and quite a bunch of xc skiers (too bad I do not have xc skies and it is not worth it to buy them for now). It just felt great to be out there, not on streets.
I had 6miles planned but then since weather and everything else was perfect and I felt great I decided to do 11miles today and do 6 tomorrow. (That way I can go skiing sooner tomorrow. If weather cooperates.))
Run felt effortless and just superb, although after 30min the path got very rough. It seems that only few people make it past 4ish miles and therefore snow got deeper with very unstable footing so I was moving pretty slowly from mile 4ish to 7ish.

So with 3000yards swim/90min bike/11 miles run, I feel pretty tired now and legs are screaming, but I need to show them who the boss is so they don't get too comfy with all the easy running I am doing this month.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Look what I got today!!!

Awesome, isn't it? My company gave me a car today. Not gave but you know what I mean.
My boss could not stand anymore me riding a bike to work every day and today when it was snowing in the morning and me still riding was probably the last drop. So he took me to the car rental place in the afternoon and I got a car.
(I love working for a big company for which few thousand bucks does not make a difference)

It is great, now I can do so many things like for example
- go get fresh food (although last week when I got here I bought enough food to last me at least a month. But fresh is fresh.)
- go run at the trail I used to in the summer. Now I can go there straight from work before it gets dark. No more road running.
- swim in the mornings. This way I do not have to run and then go swimming immediately afterwards. Plus I do not have to walk those 5 miles every day.
- make a trip somewhere! Go skiing! Go to the movies! Anything that I could not really do before without having to walk at least an hour.

Of course, I love biking. I would not mind biking to work every day, what I did not like was that I could not go anywhere. So I am really happy it has worked out this way. It has turned out that you do not have to be a German engineer to get a car after all.

I also wrote 2.5pages of my thesis today. 48 to go..

Anyway, I just ran 8 miles. Felt much better than on my run on Tuesday. ITB was ok. I still felt it yesterday when I was lying in the bed, but today no problem.

I am off to the pool now. I love that I do not have to walk in the dark anymore.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taking it easy

I was planning on doing 8 miles today but my ITB has been bothering me the whole day. Nothing too much, but enough to take a day off.
I am not going to run on a treadmill any time soon because I think that it was TM that has caused it.

But honesty, I talked with my sister on a phone because that little dumda$$ filed her taxes as if she were a US citizen so we were trying to figure out what to do now. By the time I was done with her it was already past 6pm and therefore it was about to get dark soon and I had no desire to run in cold and dark. So that was another reason to take a day off.

It is not like I am missing a run, I am just going to switch today and tomorrow because tomorrow was supposed to be a day off.

It was nice not to have to walk anywhere today and just sit in my warm living room and doing nothing.

Actually, that's not true. I am bored out of my mind.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Down to business

I'm a liar. I said that I would not run on a treadmill unless maybe tractors fall from the sky. Well, obviously no tractors were falling today but I joined the ranks of all those pussies that use treadmills in winter.
I was forced to because I did a bike/run brick and by the time I was done with a bike (w/up& 50min in 145-155 HR zone) it was pitch dark outside. I was planning on heading out and run in the neighborhood but I realized that I do not know that area at all and did not know whether it was safe enough (I heard stories...). I'm already risking my life way more that it is healthy so treadmill it was.

I set the incline to 1% (I read that on someone's blog), set 8min pace and off I was for 6 miles. It was my first real treadmill run (I tried it once couple years ago for 4 minutes or so just to see what it was). What do I think about treadmill run? It does not matter. You gotta do what you gotta do, no matter whether I like it or not, it is a pure business!
I am not sure whether my stride etc was different. ITB got tighter at the end but nothing too bad but I am still concerned.

So it seems I will have to do this every week until all the snow melts and I can run home on a road I know or until we get at least one more hour of light. Or until I get a car and will get extra 2 hours in my day that otherwise I spend walking/biking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not in running mood

Today was pretty cold out, hm?
How do I know? Because on my way to work my backpack froze, I could hardly bent it, it was so hard. And then after work, my bike lock was frozen as well. I have the "chain" that can be bent in any direction but not today, it was hard as a stick. And my fingers almost froze off when I was riding home. Tomorrow I am getting two pairs of gloves:)

And the run....the longest 8miles I have ever run. It sucked! I do not know why, I was not cold or anything (ok, the hands were, but they are always cold so that nothing new), I just was not in the mood or something. But I did it, the slowest run ever, I was really like a slug out there today, like 5:30/k pace. Then 5 strides. Unfortunately I had to do those on a road, because my nice snowy road was already pitch dark and I did not want to break an ankle during strides.

Then I went to the pool. It was better then the run but I did weights yesterday and my arms were sore today, so I was dying during 400m intervals. I could hardly move.

I know that this is not the best training arrangement ever. But I cannot swim in the mornings because I don't have time to get to work afterwards (30min to the Y, 1.5hour to swim, shower etc, 1.5hour to work). I could run in the morning but I do not have a hair dryer and I cannot bike to work with wet hair in winter. I need to get a hairdryer, I know. I will see what I can do about it this weekend.

Monday, February 7, 2011


It seems that I am so getting used to training that I do not even think about it.

I got home from work today and immediately set of to the Y for swim/bike brick. I was half way there when I realized that I have not checked the pool schedule and that it is very likely that the pool would not be even open. Sure enough, swim team had training there for next 1.5hours
So I had to consider all my options.
1, Go home and come back later. No, I am crazy but not that crazy.
2, Do bike first and swim afterwards. Well, what would be the point to this brick workout then?
3, Switch days and do a pure bike workout today. No, I do not remember what the workouts for other days are.
4, Run. No, I did not bring my knee bandage and don't want to risk it.
5, Again considering the "go home and come later" option. No, even if I was that crazy, after the pool is open I would not have enough time to do both swim and bike before the Y closes.

Surprisingly, the option to just go home and do nothing did not even occur to me. Not because I am that dedicated, I think that it has something to do with me trying to be very very efficient and don't waste anything (food, money, water, plastic bags etc) and if I went home, then that 30min walk to the Y would be waste of time and energy if I did not do anything while there.

Therefore I did weights for 40min or so. I need to get into weights routine anyway, I have been slacking lately.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Great Sunday

Great training day today.
In the morning I ran for 90min. Nine Zero. That is the longest I have run since mid-June. Run was great. The running conditions not so much because the temperature was around 0Celsius and everything is melting. Therefore almost all my snowy roads were melted and it was like running in water. I also did quite a bit of the run on a road. Did not like that. But otherwise it was great, I felt good, legs not tired. However, two hours later I started to feel little soreness. But it was not anything that an awesome aerobic ride would not fix:)

They have very cool bikes and treadmills in the local Y. Each has its own small monitor and you can choose different simulated routes or watch TV. I was supposed to do longish ride today, for about 75min. So I decided to see how those routes thing work. There were also virtual riders with me, uphills, down hills, turns and it was really cool. Of course I would get really pissed if I got dropped or passed because I was supposed to keep my HR in certain range. So that was not fun. But I still did pretty good compared to some of my virtual opponents:) I did the route in 72min so it was perfect timing and it just flew by (only afterwards I realized how much my butt hurts). I wish I could do these fun rides more often because I really had a blast and just hoping that sometime in the future I will be able to forget about HR and then I can kick some virtual ass.

I ran around 39miles this week. Can you believe it????

PS: We lost 3:2 in Fed Cup to the Czech girls. Oh well.

PS2: I got invited for a bike ride today. From some friends in LA. Too bad. I am not sure whether it was for real or just to tease me. Not funny.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week one

Today officially make the first week I am back in Michigan. I still have not unpacked my stuff, no time. You know how it looks in movies when some bad people go into someone's apartment looking for something and everything gets thrown out of all drawers and closets. So that's exactly how my living room looks like. Cloths everywhere and no space to put feet. It is a mess. I am usually not like this though.

I had to ship a package for my sister from parents for Xmas. It was only candy so it would have been probably cheaper if she just bought it herself but she said it would not be the same, so I said ok. So I walked to the post office, which took me 1hour.
And on my way home I stopped at the mall and I spent there almost 2 hours looking for new running shoes. I have had my current shoes since July (but I did track workouts in different shoes so they don't have that high mileage on them) so maybe it is time to get the second pair. It took me so long because I had to find the best deal. I bought a pair of Sauconys at the end. I have not had Saucony brand before so I decided to give it a try. Plus they were on sale. And this time I did not even get them in Kohl's or TJMaxx (because that's where I usually get my running shoes for $29.99). I got them at Sport's Authority, for $39.99 :)

Then I walked back home, took a short rest until I started to feel sleepy, which was not good and went to the Y to do a swim test. 10x100 with 10sec rest. It sounded intimidating and I had not idea what to expect since I have never done anything similar therefore I was somehow conservative. But it really was not that bad. Next time I so something similar I will know and perform better. I did it in 17:54, which is 1:38/100yards.
I felt pretty good, efficient and powerful. That paddle work is probably paying off.

Then I walked home and took Sauconys for a 60min run. I stayed in my apartment complex areal and did loops here. One loop took me around 5 min. Normally I would not do that, because these roads are completely cleared of snow and I would go somewhere where is snow for a softer surface. But since it had been snowing since noon today and road has not been plowed yet and it was pitch dark already, I stayed here. It was pretty good and I was lucky because with 10min to go the snow plow came and started clearing the road.
I did the first loop wearing those YakTrax things and let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. Much better traction than without it. But I am worried that they will fall apart, therefore I am going to save them for runs with some faster pace sections thrown in.

Oh crap, in Fed Cup Slovakia is loosing 2:0 against the Czech after the first day. Every time we loose something with the Czechs (which is, honestly, 99% of the time:)) they say that it was the "Czech complex". Such a bullshit, I am sure we are pass it now, it has been 18 years. I am hoping tomorrow we win all three matches and advance to semifinals.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I am IN!!!

I signed up for my first ever triathlon. May 28. It is called Island Lake triathlon and it seems pretty low key, so exactly what I need.

Olympic distance. Hopefully by that time I will build enough strength to swim 0.9miles in a respectable time, bike 24.8miles without completely destroying legs so I can run and not jog 6.2miles at the end. It sounds pretty easy on paper but I am sure it will not be that easy.
I have been complaining abut road races costs here. Ok, I am not going to do that anymore, because paying $70 bucks for a triathlon race is outrageous. That's like half the price of a bike I am going to ride that triathlon on! Unbelievable.

But I am PUMPED anyway. I am really happy I found this race. This being Michigan and people pretending it is cold here (it has not that cold, really), there are hardly any triathlons or road races before summer.
And I really wanted to do one before I fly back to Europe on June 1:(

Plus now I will have extra motivation to walk my butt to YMCA everyday. I really don't mind walking those 2.5miles there and then back but people at work were saying that I should be careful because this is not the best neighborhood and I go there after work when it is dark already. Even if I went there in the morning, I would be walking in the dark, so that would not change anything.
If they are so concerned about my safety, they should give me a car! (They have plenty of company cars and R&D testing cars that just sit there. My boss said that he would try to persuade someone to give me R&D car pretending I will be their test driver. But I am not a German engineer, so I do not expect such luck)

Unfortunately the 10k on road French universities champs is one week after this triathlon and I might not be well rested (plus I will fly over the Atlantic 3 days prior). But I am not even sure whether they will let me do the race because I will not run any qualifying races in France and I am not sure how waiver works. I will deal with that later for now I am thrilled about this triathlon.

No run today. It is a rest day.
Bike workout, steady riding and big gear intervals. Pretty hard and my HR shoot up to low 170s on those, which is really high for bike.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Of course I did not make it

I woke up to 4:50am, had another look at pool schedule and decided that I will rather stay up till 10:30pm than get up at 4:50am so I went back to sleep.

I was very productive at work and schedule myself few webmeetings about my thesis for next week and my boss invited me for sushi.

I was planning to run from work (3miles), drop my backpack off at home and add few more miles for a total of 60minutes. However, there is another intern at work who has a car (apparently German engineers are treated much better than Slovak business people) and he took me home.

So I did 60min afterwards, somewhere around the neighborhood. I felt great and was running at a good pace (so it felt). No ITB pain at all. When I was running yesterday and I stepped funnier or slid a bit I felt it, today not at all.

There were some classes at the Y pool till 8:35pm. Therefore by the time I was done with the workout it was 9:40ish.
Again a lot of paddles, band, pull buoy work. I can feel my muscles growing:) Not really but I am sure they are. I paid a lot attention not to drop left elbow. I also did quite a lot of side kicks and it is hard. Not so much kicking, but breathing. It is strange because when I was at outdoor pool in LA, no breathing problem. But indoors I am getting into "air debt". I wonder whether I am just imagining it or whether it has something to do with less oxygen indoor and chlorine in the air. It feels that swimming indoors is very different from outdoors, I feel very very slow indoors.

Then I walked home (sidewalks were better than yesterday, some other sections were plowed, but it is still not ideal. I wonder how it works with plowing here. Do people have to pay for the sidewalk in front of their houses to be plowed? I do not mean their driveways, but regular sidewalks. Because they are plowed in front of some house and not in front of the others. Weird. And it is very stupid because everything that got plowed yesterday or today is already dry because we has sunny weather today. Now it is 100m nice sidewalk, then 15m snow up to mid-calves etc) and now it is 10:50pm so I am going to sleep.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My first ever snow day

The huge storm that they forecasted was not as huge as they thought so when I woke up and saw that there were only few inches of snow and ploughed roads I set off to go to work because I honestly thought that someone would be there. But no, when I got there were only around 10 people in building. But I decided to stay and do some thesis research. I realized that I really need to talk with someone who can give me first-hand info, so I called it quits after 3 hours.
I got a ride back home with a pizza delivery guy. He saw me walking and asked whether I need a ride. Sure. It is not that other drivers did not think about offering me a ride, but there were no other drivers. I did not met a single car while I was walking home. Probably because it was snowing pretty hard by that time.

I got home, ate lunch, tried to take a nap. I am not used to taking nap so it did not work out very well.
Then I went for a run. It was ok. Although it was snowing with a very strong headwind one way, I enjoyed it because I did not really had to worry about cars since there were not any and snow made for a softer surface. I was planning on doing 60-65 min, but I had to go to bathroom very badly. It was not like I could pee in bushes since there were not any and I was on a street. I made it home in 55min and after a pit stop I was too lazy to go out again for 10min.

I also went to Y later. I do not know whether it is normal but sidewalks were not cleared of snow. I know that I am the only person walking in this country but they could cleared them for me, right? And I could not walk on a road because it is one of the main road and pretty busy, so I had to drag myself through all that snow that was sometimes up to my knees and climb the snow walls created by snow plowers (I have no idea what the owrd for this is). That was a pretty workout in itself and it took me over 40min to get there.

There were not that many people in YMCA. I thought that cardio will be packed today but no. Bike workout in Y, some core exercises, shower and back home. Fortunately some sidewalks were already cleared but it still was not ideal.

I need to do a swim workout tomorrow morning and it will be horrible. I need to walk to Y, then back home and then walk to work. And if those streets are not cleared it would be horrible, it would take me forever. I have to get up before 5am. I know that some people do that every day but I am not used to that. I used to work in the bakery at college and I had to get up at 5:30am couple times a week but past 2+ years I could usually sleep at least till 7am. This triathlon training/work/winter/no car thing is difficult.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vertical swimming + Run

I still got a car this morning so I went to check out the pool at the local YMCA this morning. It was awesome. There were not that many people and I had the whole lane for myself, woo-hoo.
It was hard, I did a lot of swimming with paddles and bands. Without pull buoy, my legs go straight to the bottom and then I end up dragging them behind me and it is HARD to move. And I do not even use real bands (I have something that used to be a hair/sweat band that I wrap around my ankles but it gives me some room for movement so I frenetically kick my feet, but it is not working). Therefore vertical swimming.
I did a lot of swimming with paddles and my poor arms were tired afterwards, although I am sure it is good for me. I can see that my right arm is stronger than my left arm, because I can keep a nice high right elbow even when it gets hard, but I sometimes drop the left elbow to fake the movement.

I am 99% positive that the pool here is 25 yard pool because it seemed very short compared to what I am used to. This means that I should really try to do flip turns, otherwise it is not that great. Starting today I am flip turning during my easy swims.

Swimming was great, so great that I was 15min late for work my first day. But no biggie because my boss' assistant was also late and I had to wait for her to help me set everything up.
Work was very uneventful, I did not do anything because it is a month-end and nobody had time for me.

Afterwards I dropped the car off at a rental place and I went running. It was pretty cold, but whatever. I found one road that is reasonably covered with snow so I can run there and avoid hard surfaces. I am not sure whether it is safe to run there because that city does not have the best reputation but it was residential area and houses were nice, so I suppose it is fine. I did 50 minutes and I can feel ITB a bit because half of it was on a regular hard road. Tomorrow I will do only snow roads.

Apparently a huge snowstorm is coming this way. They say it is supposed to be one of the biggest snowstorm in past few years, so we should see. I am sure it won't be anything I have not seen yet and if they clear a road at least a bit, I don't care.
When I was at high school, I always ran on track and they did not clear it in winter so I did intervals in snow that was way above my ankles. Of course, those were not quality intervals but well.
I suspect nobody will be at work tomorrow. I hate snow days. I have never experienced a snow day, we don't have that in Slovakia. I do not know how much snow we would have to have to call it a snow day. If you can't get to work, it is your fault and bear the consequences. But why would not people be able to come to work? Snow tires on cars are required in Slovakia. But of course there is a lot of car accidents when it snows a lot but it is people's fault that they are not careful. Therefore I don't fully understand this snow days thing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in Slovakia people don't commute such huge distances to work (although nowadays it is starting). But also colleges are closed here, and most students live on campus so what's the big deal? If professors can't get to work it is their problem, students should not suffer and be deprived the opportunity to learn (ok, I know. NO student thinks like that).
I am sure I will not like a snow day because I am paid by hours so no work=no money. I think I will go (WALK) to work anyway, just to see and maybe I can find someone who can give me some company contacts to Mexico and I can start working on my thesis. I am sure my boss won't be there because he comes from Windsor in Canada every morning and if weather is bad, it is not worth it because he spends hours and hours in traffic.

I still do not have a bike. But my colleague offered me to lend me her bike that she lent me in summer while I was waiting for my bike to arrive. It is little bit too small for me but it is better than nothing. I need to tell her to bring it to work on Thursday.