Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This might be it

We had over 30degrees today!!!! Celsius of course. I love hot weather.

I did a bike ride, just something short 55min, w/up, big gear intervals, c/d. My legs did not hurt at all, no sign of lingering soreness.
I was wearing my new biking shorts! No more underwear and running shorts. Ok, I will probably continue doing that but I really need biking shorts because of this

My first ever century ride/race! June 11. It will be fun. It is somewhere in northern Michigan and I am going there with people from the club. I might die but at least I will die doing what makes me happy:) I do not know what I should expect but I am definitely going for a win.

After the bike workout I decided to try to run and see whether great feeling in the ITB I have had in past 2 days was just because I did not do anything that might bother it or because it might be somehow healed.
I walked to the football fields which took me more than 1 hour, but it is was so nice out that I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible. I did 8x2min with 1 min walk break and it felt good. No pain during run or after. Then I walked back.
I think that this might be it. It might be healed. I hope it feels this great tomorrow. And then it is time to choose some running races! (Once I know when I will be for next 6 months)
But as I was running I could feel some soreness in my legs. Mostly the inner tights. Since nothing hurt on a bike and my biking muscles are ok, it probably means that it was really that 10k run that trashed my legs, more precisely my running muscles.

By the way, forget all nice things I said about the hockey guy. He is THE major jerk. I always thought that you see it only in movies that some high-school football (basketball, hockey etc) star dates more girls at the same time and considers that completely normal (and then probably chooses the one who cracks first and accepts the mattress invite. Ok, I made the last part up, but it might well be a case.). Well, it has turned out that also divorced 30+ high-level managers with 5-year old daughters do that. My sister said that it was just very American way and that I should just get used to it if I intend to find American husband...Hm, interesting. I feel like an idiot. Not sure why, since I am not the idiot here. Well, maybe a little because I did something little stupid yesterday, but at least now I know where I stand, right? And the worst thing is that eventhough I know he is a jerk I kind of regret that I did not accept that offer. What's wrong with me?!?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lake swim

My legs are still mad at me about what I did to them on Saturday:) But less mad than yesterday.

ITB feels good, but I will give it one more day before attempting a run.

I went to visit a friend from college who now does her PhD in Ann Arbor and it was nice to see her again. We walked around the town and around the UM campus. Ann Arbor is a nice city, very green, nothing like Detroit area.

Because it is the Memorial Day, the Y was closed so on my way back from AA I stopped in the park where the triathlon was held on Saturday and I decided to swim in the lake there.
There were a lot of people in the park and in the water. It was pretty cold but not too bad. I decided to swim wetsuitless because I would have looked ridiculous.
I swam along the buoys outside the area reserved for swimmers. I did maybe around 1k before I started to get too cold.
I was supposed to do more and with bands and pull buoy but I guess 1 easy k is better than nothing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Short post-race update

My legs are sore!!!
I do not remember the last time my legs were sore. Last time I was this sore was November 2009 after Nice-Cannes marathon. Well, I was much sorer back than but it is a similar feeling.
Good feeling, it means that I was working hard. It was that run that has done this to my legs!

ITB feels good. It did not hurt at night at all and also today no problem. I am going to take 1-2 more days off running and then will start building mileage up if everything feels good.

Also I forgot to "record" my fueling strategy yesterday, so here it goes.
I ate banana with peanut butter in the morning, around 5am. I drank water with orange juice.
Then took one gel 15min before the start.
It was not hot out although it was getting warmer on a run, so I did not feel I needed a lot of fluids, plus I do not have one of those fancy drinking systems on my bike and it was annoying to bent down, take the bottle, lift my head to weird position and drink. I had water mixed with gatorade (or powerade, one of those, I do not know, I would have to check) and protein powder. I drank few sips around 15k in, then another few at around 30k and then few around 1k before the bike finish. I carried a gel with me on a run in case I felt like I needed it but I never did.

I never felt low on energy or thirsty. Maybe if it was hotter out than it would be different.
I was kind of starving afterwards, I ate some wraps they had for finishers and then went to BBQ with some tri club people and ate 1/2 a Subway sandwich, 2 chicken sandwiches and a huge hamburger. My first hamburger in the US. I do not eat that kind of meat but I decided to give it a try. It was yummy.

I went to Henry Ford museum today and spent 4 hours there and I have not even seen everything but I was tired and it was not fun being there alone. I need to make my sister go there with me and then I can comment on everything and make her ears fall off:)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Island Lake triathlon RR (1st tri ever!)

It went pretty well. Not as well as planned but well enough to be somehow satisfied. It just shows me that I still have a lot of work to do!

Final time: 2:27.28 (2 OA female out of 35, 23rd OA/135)
Swim: 00:29.44 (11th female, grrrr. First girl swam 22something. I passed her on a run though:))
T1: 2:25 (69th OA, grrrr. My fault, I am an idiot.)
Bike: 1:11:48 (fastest female bike split of the day!!! Sweet! And I used to be a fast runner....29th OA)
T2: 0:48 (well, fastest female split but that's because I did not have to change shoes:)
Run: 00:42.45 (2nd female, 15 OA)

1st female went 2:18.54. She gave me 6min on a swim! 2min on a run and I gave her around 15sec on a bike:) She is 33, has 2 kids and works as a triathlon coach but I do not know whether it is her full-time job. We talked, that's why I know all this:)

I won bottle of California wine and gift certificate for $100 NB running shoes.
Actually, I did not win those running shoes but 1st female husband owns the NB running stores in Michigan that have provided shoes to OA winners so obviously she did not take them and she gave certificate to me:) (I guess I will go return those that I bought yesterday:) I have already gone to the store and got them. They are nice. $115, so I paid $15.) As we talked I told her that I am planning on doing this race in summer as well, they have "series" and she said that was training for HIM so she would not do the summer race but that I should definitely come and that it is very likely that I will win another pair:)

I have mixed feeling about the race. I am very satisfied with bike and with run but swim....NOT AT ALL. And I am happy with sneakers obviously:)

Morning went ok, it took me around 7min to put contacts in, I realized that I do not have any food at home so I ate 1 banana with peanut butter and off I went. It was raining on my way there and I was not thrilled about it.

I got there, got my bib, chip and set up transition, put my wetsuit on and then it was 15min till my wave start. They let all Olympic distance women start at the same time and we were the last wave.

Swim: It was weird. I warmed up a bit but obviously it was not enough because when we started I immediately found myself at the back of the pack. WTH?
I thought I was going fast enough but apparently I was not. I am too dependent on knowing my pace because I settle easily and I did not know how to spread my energy for 1500m. I think that I need practice that. And I also need to become a faster swimmer, much faster!
I was zigzagging like crazy. Lifeguards were like "Miss, course is that way" because at times I was way out of course. My right arm is stronger so I always went to the left and when I tried to concentrate on it I worked too hard with left arm (or as a matter of fact I wasn't working hard enough with my right arm) and then went way too right.
Water was 64degrees, I was not cold at all.

T1: I screwed up big time.
At first I had a small problem to get my wetsuit off through my wrists. Weird because I used bodyglide.
And then...There were two exits (excluding swim in) from transition and only one of them was bike out and it had sign and timing mat. But I did not see that one, it was completely on the other side from my transition space and I kinda assumed that the other exit was bike out. So I ran there and well, it was not an exit. So I did not know where to go. I am an idiot, I know. It took me couple second to find the right exit and then I ran there. I lost time there.
Bu those speedlaces worked like magic!

Bike: It was great! I was flying past people, both men and women. We did two loops and theoretically I could see where my opponents were but I did not really because you cannot really recognize a woman from a man when riding past and I did not know whether they were Oly or Sprint because by that time slowest Sprints were mingled with us. So I just went! But everytime I passed a girl I was wondering whether she is in Oly or not.
4 miles before the bike finish I passed a girl on a tri bike, in aerohelmet and disk wheel! She must have been surprised seeing ME on my crapy bike in running shoes flying by her. I knew that I might be in for trouble on a run because I might have been hammering little too much. But I am not gonna lie, it was a nice confidence booster for me:) Man, I wish I had such equipment. I would be a bike beast!
I went fast on bike and sometimes I was panting but not too often, mostly on uphills. I kept it somehow controlled. I loved it.
I was wearing arm warmers because it was chilly out but I was not cold at all. Not once.

T2: Rack bike, helmet on and off. I realized that I forgot my Garmin still inside the T2 area but decided to let it be. Not worth it.

Run: Run was brutal.Although, now after a few hours I think it was ok.
I am happy with it. I missed my goal by 45sec but I still kind of exceeded my expectations:) But I surely could have run faster. You know how I said I was prepared for hurt. Well, I might be prepared for hurting for 5min, but not for 40. But I just powered through it controlled passing people. I have received a lot of encouragements from men I passed!
Course was out and back and twice. I did not know which position I was but I saw a girl (eventual 1st female) as she was going back and she was like 1 mile ahead of me and she was running fast! So lost cause. I also saw other women but did not know whether they were in Oly or not. I kind of thought that maybe 1-2 girls looked like that. The others looked like very slow Sprint.
As I was finishing the 1st loop I saw one girl starting her second loop and I knew I was gaining on her fast because I saw her ahead of me in our first loop. As I was approaching her some guy yelled at me that 2nd place is ahead of me and 1st is way ahead but that I should go get the 2nd. So I did:) I again received a lot of encouragements. It is very nice to see men who cheer on you when you are beating them!
I did not run fast enough to the point of a lot of pain but it was painful just to run. Heck, I have not done any real real runs in 3 months. I think that I would have run little faster if I had my Garmin with me though. I am bad at running at perceived effort, I think that I might have already mentioned that:) Honestly, at points I felt like shuffling forward but apparently I was running pretty fast. At the beginning I wished I could just stop and sit down and I was thinking that this is not fun, it hurts. But then after I passed girl and went to second place I felt much better:)
PPC was right, I might not have running sharpness but all the biking and swimming helped me to somehow keep running fitness.
I did not see any difference between running immediately after I got off the bike and let's say 20 minutes later. It seems that my legs were not beaten up too much from bike.

My ITB did not hurt at all. And it did not hurt at all afterwards. But I can feel it now. We will see how it feels tomorrow.

It was fun though. Although it might be more fun if they scratched swim and run :) Just kidding.
Biking hurts, a lot!
I liked it and I think that I might do this again.

Results: http://www.elementevents.com/events/32

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ready? Go!

Did my last pre-race swim workout this evening.
Actually it was the only swim workout I did this week. I skipped swim on Monday because I thought that I might be getting sick and then pool was closed on Wednesday. But that's ok, 2 workouts in last week before the race won't make a difference. Or will they? Hm, I do not think so.

Swim was great but I cut it short by 150tards because well, I have realizes that I will be racing in 10 hours so I should probably take it easy. But I did 4 fast 50s: 41, 39, 39, 40 and they felt great! Kind of effortless. Probably because 50 is so short and the whole swim was short, only 35-40min.

I have everything ready for tomorrow. I have not packed it into car though because there have been some car robberies in my apartment complex and I am not going to risk it.
Car...horrible, rental costs me $180 because they are closed Sun and Mon so I had to keep it till Tuesday. I think that now I MUST make a trip somewhere. Maybe Traverse city, people say that it is nice.

Anyway, I am ready for tomorrow. Although I am not sure whether I will be able to fall asleep, I am excited!

I am little worried that I will be cold tomorrow. It is supposed to be only mid 50s when we get out of water and biking in wet cloths probably won't be fun. I am taking arm warmers with me. But I have biked in cold, I am tough, I should be ok. Let's hope my body is as tough as my little insane mind. if I do not get pneumonia that I will consider myself indestructible:) It is raining now but it is supposed to be sunny tomorrow. At least something.

I bought new sneakers today. And no, I did not buy them in Kohl's for $29.99. Although I must confess that I went to Kohl's first but they did not have anything I liked:) So I bought those sneakers in a regular Nike store. Sure, on sale, but they look and feel decent. I am not going to wear them tomorrow though.

Speaking of sneakers, look at this. Hockey guy has bought me these "bungees" (that was before he tried to kill me and stopped talking to me because he did not succeed) because apparently one looses a lot of time tying shoes laces. And they even match my sneakers! That was not intentional though. So I decided to give it a try. I have not run wearing them but I tried the sneakers on and off and it feels good and it is so fast to put them on. So now I should be like a lightening through T1!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


You remember how I was telling that I do not care about biking in rain. Well, today I did care!

It was windy and cold. I was soaked 5min in and frozen 5min10sec in. It was pretty horrible. But I am a real badass today:)

I stood in hot shower for 20min to defrost my hands and feet after riding for 98min in that weather.

Let's talk about race goals

I think that it is time to share my fears (oh, I mean excitement) about this coming Saturday.

As you might know this Saturday I will participate in my first ever TRIATHLON. I have always wanted to do a triathlon but never had guts to stop being a pure runner and give it a try until last December. I contacted Michelle to help me prepare for one and now here I am, around 36 hours before the event.
I am going to share my goals with you and reveal my racing strategy. If you can call it that way:) But I am going to write it down because it will help me to organize my thoughts/plan.
I am excited but also worried. But I feel prepared, kind of.
Although everyone says that triathlons are really not about time (because every course is different, and there are many outside factors one cannot control and courses are rarely measured accurately) and they are rather about how many people you can beat, I cannot help myself. I need a time goal! I need a pacing strategy!
Maybe next time (if I survive this one and if I like it) I will be more open to the “placement, not time, is important” attitude.

When I signed up for the race in February I thought that I would have almost 4 months to train. 4 months to improve my swimming efficiency so I can survive the 1500m swim, 4 months to become a decent cyclist so I can hammer 40k and 4 months to be able to run 39min in open 10k, which I was hoping to transfer into around 40min 10k in triathlon with the help of many many and many bike/run bricks.
My time goal was sub-2:20 (26min swim, 70min bike, 40min run and get out of transitions in less than 2min). Before you start laughing, let me clarify. I know that it my first ever triathlon and that that was a very ambitious goal, but I have read somewhere that people should think big. :)

Well, that went out of a window in March when my ITB started to act up. In past 2.5 months I have run a total of around 16miles, most of them in 1min increments…
However, I still think that I can do very well. My swimming and biking training went well and I will just hang on for a run.

I have had my downs and ups in swims (last week was a down week for example) but I am ready to tackle 1500m.
Most of my bike rides were good, although, well, I do not know how to evaluate my biking since bike training is different from swims and runs. But I did 20k TT in 34:18 and it was not that bad.

So my goals/plan?
Swim: There is no way to check my splits so I will just try to swim hard. I am not scared about swimming in open water and I will be wearing wetsuit, which will make me faster. The only problem might be getting off the course and zigzagging. I also should have practiced lifting my head and sighting … But I believe that I can make it in 26-27min if course is somehow accurate and if I can swim in a somehow straight line.

Bike: Well, it is a slightly hilly route. Not too bad but it is not flat. I do not expect it to be windy because if I remember correctly it is mostly in woods. We are doing two loops and the plan is to negative split the bike. I have no idea what speed I can hold on that route, but I think that I will try to be at around 34kph on average. Start the first loop at around 32.5-33 and then start picking it up after the first third. If the course is accurate and everything works out, that should give me around 70-72min split.
If I realize that 34kph is totally unreasonable then I will just do my best to catch gals in front of me.

Run: Hm…I do not know. I really have no idea. I am not trained for running, and more importantly I am not trained for running off the bike.
My plan is to try to negative split run as well. Although I am not sure whether I have ever negative splitted a running race (except for my Nice marathon). I am going to say it although people will probably laugh at me (PPC, do not laugh please. Or you can laugh but do not tell me and let me leave in my little unreasonable dream world:)). I am going to shoot for 42min finish. Honestly, I have no idea whether it is feasible or not, since I have not run for 3 months so I cannot say where my running fitness is. But more I think about it, more unreachable it seems. There is no way I can run 42min in a 10k with zero running training AND after swimming and biking before. But you know what? It is ok. At least I have some non-underachiever goal. Think big, right? So the plan is to start at 6:45-46ish and see how that goes. Hold that for 3miles (I am sure I can do it) and then TRY to pick it up in next 3 miles (I am not sure whether I can do it). I am bringing my Garmin with me. I need it! I hope that unreliable gadget will work properly.
I have done several pretty hard workouts recently (swim and bike of course) and they hurt and I feel confident that I can deal with pain. So I know that the run will be painful and I am prepared for it. At least I hope I am because it is easy to say I am ready to hurt when I am sitting in my living room doing nothing...

I just hope that my ITB survives. I know that it will be possible to run on grass instead of on a paved path so I might do that. I have not felt the ITB in past 3 weeks but that’s because I have not run a single step in past three weeks. I think that it will be ok though, 6miles is not that far. But if it starts acting up, I am going to drop out.
Well, ok, maybe I will walk to the finish. But I doubt it. I am not one of those “finishing is the accomplishment” people. I do not do races for fun, I do them for PR and racing and winning. Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against people who do races for fun, I just do not see point of spending money doing it. And I will rather DNF my first triathlon than see 3+hours finishing time when I know that that time does not represent my abilities. I DNFed my first marathon after my ITB forced me to walk because I did not want to see 4+ hours time and I am totally ok with that although some people are outraged by such a behavious.
Maybe my finish time will be 3+ hours but it will not be because my ITB started to act up, it will be because of my lack of fitness, which should not theoretically happen.

I am a very simple person, so I will keep transitions simple. T1: Get out of water, strip off my wetsuit, put sock and sneakers on, take helmet and glasses and bike and off I am. T2: I do not have biking shoes so all I have to do is rack my bike and take my helmet off. Should be easy and fast:)

So that should give me 2:20-25 finishing time.
I am sure I can hit those times if swim, bike and run were separate disciplines few days apart:) Whether I can hit those times in triathlon….we will see on Saturday.

Last year was the first year they had Olympic distance at this race. And it is pretty small race, it is early in the Michigan tri season and most people do sprint distance therefore I do not expect many women in Olympic (but who knows) so I am shooting for a podium. I am so modest, am I not:) The overall female winner last year went 2:29.57 (31:35, 1:22, 1:09.29, 1:22, 46:10). Male winner did 2:04.56 (22:38, 1:04, 1:02.39, 0:35, 38:01).
Now that I am looking at the results, I see that hardly any women swam sub-30min. And around 60% of men under age 40 swam sub-30min with only few sub-27min. I should probably make a real statistical profile but I am lazy to do that... But based on these superficial observations, maybe swim course is little long. Don’t you think? So maybe my 27min swim goal is unreasonable. Well, we will see on Saturday I guess. Maybe it is really true that I should concentrate on beating people and not on time
I know that there are many things that can go wrong. But I am really not thinking about those. I am very optimistic about having a perfect race (so unlike me, I am usually very pessimistic person).

One thing that might go wrong is wearing contacts. I have always run and biked just like that not seeing properly but I do not think that I can do that for an open water swim. I will not be able to see buoys! I have worn contacts 3 times in my life. One of those times was last week when I went swimming because I figured I should try it out. It worked well. So I hope it will be ok on Saturday and the only trouble would be getting up 15min earlier to give me enough time to put them in
I wish someone would go there with me. For different reasons. To give me a ride there because now I need to rent a car:( To give me some tips and advice since I clearly have no idea what I am doing. But I will be ok. I will figure it out, I am very independent and creative in getting me (in and) out of trouble:) Although it is usually other people who get me in trouble and then I must get myself out.
But since I have found some friends I realized how lonely I have been and now it bothers me. I wish I never went to that stupid hockey game several weeks ago! I could have been living in my nice closed world without knowing that it is fun to have friends. Now I think that it might be nice to have someone there to b*tch about weather before the race and then to share the excitement afterwards. Even my sister, who does not care at all is in Slovakia so I cannot call her and torture her by telling her about my day:( Hey Michelle, what time do you get up on Saturday mornings? :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deep breaths, in and out, in and out.

I went to the pool and it was CLOSED because of lightnings!!!

I had good intentions and they did not work out. At least I got a "nice" walk in...

Life (and I hate rain)

Wow, I have not rambled in a few days. So unlike me. I love to ramble!

I just was not in a mood. There were a lot of things going on recently, some good, some not so good.
But now I am living off the good news.
You know how I was supposed to leave next Wednesday and I still did not know whether I really have to leave or not 10 days prior my "leaving" date? Well, you can just imagine how stressful that was. Should I look for new apartment or should I start trying to sell the bike and other crap and I start looking to change my flight, etc...?
But on Monday I received a confirmation that my visa extension was approved and I can stay for one more month! So now I have one month to chill before the whole stressful process starts again:(

Yesterday I had an interview and I got a temporary job offer, well, internship offer to stay until the end of the year. It is not 100% official yet because personnel requisition was not approved by high level bosses yet but that should not be a problem because I will just replace their current intern. It is the same company, but different department. Same city but different location.
Actually, I got two offers, another one is to fill in for a lady that is having a baby but that position is only until the end of October.
I am 99% sure I am going to take internship offer because it is longer and there is a chance for it to lead to permanent position.
But I will have to apply for visa extension again and now I am little worried that it might not go through. But I got to stay positive!
And it is costing me a lot of money money. It will be 1750 Euros together with this current one month extension fee!!! And because of HR policies (the same stupid policies that made my boss to take the car away from me) it is very unlikely that the company will reimburse me for it. But if it is going to give me 7 more months to look for a job and get more experience, than I guess it is worth it. Or maybe I am just telling that to myself.... It is just money, right?

Interview was weird, my direct boss would be German and she insisted on talking German. It was pretty awful. I understood everything what she was saying but when I was talking, well, it was not so great. But I got the position nevertheless so maybe it was not that bad after all. I was told that I speak with French accent. Hm....how can a Slovak in the United States speak German with a French accent? That's beyond my understanding.

On training note. I took Monday off because I had sore throat and I was worried that it might develop into something worse.

Tuesday I biked, threw in some intervals to get muscles activated.
I still have sore throat and I am also coughing now but let's hope it won;t get worse.

It has been raining the whole day today. Thunders and lightening. And wind. I biked from work and within a minute I looked I went swimming, not biking. It is still raining. And I have a swim workout to do. Now, that's the dilema. If I go out I will be soaked within a minute again. And I just do not feel like it. It would be no problem if I did not have to bike there which takes me little under 15min. 15min in rain and wind. Then going to the pool. And then back to the rain again. I am not looking forward to it.

I am thinking that I might walk there. It takes me around 30min when I walk fast. But I think that I can deal with that better than 15min on a bike.

Ok, I am going for it. Because more I think about going there in this weather more stupid it seems and I might actually persuade myself to skip the workout.

But maybe if I am getting sick, then I should not spend walking 1 hour in a rain? You see, I am trying to find excuses not to go out!!! Bad athlete, bad bad bad.

Ok, I am taking my poncho and going!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another good and bad

Let's see what did I do this weekend?
Weather was gorgeous!!!!

On Saturday, I rode a bike and then went swimming in a lake in my wetsuit for the first time ever. There were 5 of us and all of us got our wetsuits in last month and wanted to see how they feel.

Swimming in wetsuit is kinda fun, at first I felt little constrained in my shoulder motion but then I pull the suit up a bit and it felt great.
I think that I will ok next weekend, although sighting is tough. I am not used to lifting my head so that will probably completely break my stroke. Oh, well, we will see.

Today, I went volunteering in a running race and it was not much fun but that's ok.
Then I went home, ate lunch and fell asleep on a floor by my bed for 2 hours... Something is not right. I went swimming after I woke up but I quit the workout because I was totally off my paces. I tried but my body would not move!!!
I hope I am not getting sick or something. But otherwise I feel fine.

Then one guy from a club came over to help me adjust my bike and do some maintenance. We took it to his house where he has all the equipment. Ok, this guy had 4 bikes in his garage and 3 more in his kitchen...
He started working on my bike and after he sad "this is very bad" for like 100th time, I knew that it was bad. My bike was filthy, he said he has never seen anything like that and that chain and gears are supposed to be shiny silver and not black and covered with scam (well, that's understandable since I have never cleaned it and I rode it in any kind of weather), breaks did not work properly (I kinda knew that) and then he tried to adjust my shifting but he gave up after 30min because something is wrong with it. So he decided that he was going to take my bike to his buddies in a real bike shop tomorrow and have it done for me by professionals. And they will also change my chain because he said that it was dangerous. Well, ok. Whatever you say, I am not an expert. And the best part is that they will do it for free.
He also adjusted my saddle and aerobars so I am more comfortable and gave me some tips on my biking posture.

So after all is done I should be ready to GO GO GO on Saturday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Back2Back is no fun

I know I have said this before but I am going to repeat it: swimming two days on a row is awful!

Because the Y pool was closed on Tuesday and I had to stay at work late on Wednesday and could not fit in a swim, I had to do do it yesterday. Unfortunately my second swim for this week was planned for today. I also switched the swims, did fast one yesterday and long today, originally it was the other way. (Am I making any sense?)

And my arms were trashed. I had a really long swim today 3292m (3600yards), which is LONG for me, with 800, 600, 400 progression and then descended 200. Well, it was pathetic. I was swimming like 1:40-50 pace and my arms were screaming.
I also got those cramps on turns again although I have drunk enough water today.

I am going to try some supplements and I think that also lack of sleep might be a problem. Since last Thursday I am not getting enough sleep. I spend one night on a bus, then was up at around 6-6:30 on weekend (that's not a complain!) and I got only 3 hours on Monday night, and then around 7hours the other 3 nights. Not ENOUGH!

Problem is that even if I can sleep in I usually get up at 6:30am these days. And since I don't get to bed until around 10:30-11pm, that's not enough.

So I am going to bed NOW.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good and bad

Let's start with good, shall we?

I got my HR to 202 in spin class today, somewhere mid-way when we did hill work.
I knew I was in trouble when my HR skyrocketed to over 180 during warm up...But well, I was told that fatigue was only in my head and when I feel like easing up I should not. And I tried to stick with it. I was really working hard. I rarely saw sub-180 on HR monitor for the whole class.
I think that this is hardest I have worked in a long time, maybe the hardest ever.
By the end of the class I actually had trouble breathing sometimes probably because my form was probably collapsing and I contracted my rib cage and could get enough air in. And I felt like crying at one point.
You know how some people puke when they work hard. I think that I will never be able to do that. I think that my muscles will "crash" before I can reach that point. Now I do not know whether I should be sad about it because it might mean that I am just not strong enough muscularly or maybe it is just the way some people are that they cannot get themselves to puke even if they work hard.

Bad part is that there is something wrong with my lower legs. I could feel that I was on a verge of getting a cramp in my left feet almost the whole time. I have never had cramps before and it happened to me the first time a couple weeks ago during a swim and then during the bike TT 2 weeks ago.

Which let to a very bad swim. Easy swimming was ok but as soon as I started hard stuff it well all wrong. I was supposed to do all out 6x100 shooting for PR on each. Instead I had to keep my left foot flexed in ankle almost the whole time and not kick because I felt that if I start flutter kick it will cramp. So my 100 were 1:27, 1:30 (very close call with he cramp), 1:26, 1:26, 1:26, 1:29. At least they were sub 1:30. And when I was getting out of the pool I got s minor cramp in my right calf as well.

I ended with 15min of easy aqua jogging. ITB feels good but I am still not sure whether I should risk it and try running...

I think that the cramp issue might be due to dehydration mostly (although some mechanical issues might play a role and also not enough salt since I do not put salt into my meals but I have never had since I believe that there is enough salt in everything we buy in stores). I did not drink enough water today. Therefore just for the heck of it I stepped on a scale after the workout and I was at 141 pounds! Ok, there is no way I weight 141 pounds (although when I checked myself in a mirror I seemed skinnier today than usual). I was 144 pound last week after one of my swim workouts and already then I thought that I was dehydrated because considering the crap I have been eating in past few days (weeks.... muffins and cookies for breakfast and dinner, not good. I am an extremist, I eat combination of very healthy food and then very sugary food. Like steamed veggies with steamed fish and brown ride followed by 5 M&Ms cookies) I doubt I weight 144. Maybe 146.
But who knows. I have been again under a lot of stress recently so maybe I have lost some weight because of that. But I doubt that one looses 5 pounds in 1 week due to stress.

I am going to be religious about drinking enough water from now on!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bike in rain

I guess I should say blah and complain how horrible it was.

I do not know why but I HATE running in rain but I somehow do not mind biking in rain. And it was raining the whole time as I did my bike ride this evening. At least it was kinda warm (ok, it was not "warm", it was "not cold") so I was not freezing, but I was totally soaked. And I loved every minute of it.

To be honest with you, I think that I do not mind biking in rain because I feel like a really bad bad badass doing it and it feels awesome. I would take any type of motivation to do my workouts:)

I was supposed to do 90min but I somehow got lost in one of the subdivisions (they are real labyrinths with dead ends, no outlets and stuff!)and ended up doing 2hours. Sorry coach! But I promise I won't accidentally do a 5-hour ride on Saturday:)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Montreal trip mayhem

Let me start from the end by saying that maybe I should have "surrendered" when the hockey guy tried to (literally) drag me out of my bed to his last weekend (well, both of those beds were his since it was his house). Because then maybe he would have treated me differently now and I would not have got stuck alone at the closed train station in Windsor, Canada at midnight yesterday! I was sooo pissed. He was supposed to pick me up but instead he left me to my destiny!

He sent me a message that he was on his way while I was still on train but when he was still not there after 1 hour I knew something was going on. My cell does not work in Canada and I only could use wireless internet on my iPod which was not working properly. But it worked at one point and I received a message asking where I was and that he was going to go home since I have not showed up. That message was 30min old. WTF?
I still have not find out where the hell he was because he clearly was not at the same train station I was at! But I know he was somewhere in Windsor so it was not intentional because later when I was questioned at the border what the hell I was doing in the middle of the night trying to get to the US, the border official told me that he has already heard the "train station, girl, no show-up" story today from a guy in a red pick-up truck couple hours ago. Yeah, that was my guy.

Then I finally found a phone that would take my credit card and called him but he was already at home and pissed that I have not showed up and did not let him know what was going on and that he made the trip all the way down there in the middle of the night and that he has a company to run in the morning and a conference meeting with a customer in 5 hours and he got in trouble at the border for going back and forth with no apparent reason. He actually made me feel sorry for him although it was ME alone in dark on a train station parking lot and I even apologized to him at the end. Geez, am I weak or what? We were both pretty pissed and when I started cursing that what I was
supposed to do now he offered to pay for taxi to get me home home, which would cost somewhere around $300. I said no, that's a lot of money and I would feel that I owe him something and I might do something stupid next time he tries to show me his master bedroom mattress... But maybe I should have taken the offer because then I ended up calling my boss who lives in Windsor. And well, it is never a good idea to wake up your boss at 1am in the morning for personal emergencies.

I am never ever going to ask almost strangers for help!

Anyway, Montreal trip was great. Although it was raining almost the whole weekend, I finally met PPC and her adorable toddler and I managed to see everything I wanted to see and I even swam in the actual Olympic pool. Cool. And I have spent almost 2 hours in the museum of Montreal history, which was very interesting.
Montreal is an old city and I like modern Toronto better. Sorry PPC:)Although I would not mind having Mount Royal in my backyard. Too bad I could not run, it looked very appealing.
I felt like being in France. You can hear French everywhere and old Montreal is like any old European city. But Montreal ski resorts are nothing like European ski resorts:)

I am tired and sleep-deprived after spending 12 hours on a bus and a train and then sleeping for only 3 hours...I do not feel like doing my swim workout but well, it needs to be done. So I am off.

Grrr, today is one of those days. I got to the Y and pool was closed for the day because there was a small accident. I wonder whether some little kid has peed there. Although I can go to bed now and get some sleep, it's really going to mess up my swimming schedule this week!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bike, swim, run

In that order.

I had again a very nice ride this afternoon. 1h30min of cruising. I love those rides. Although it was very windy, it was warm. Yep, spring is definitely here.

Then did a swim workout. Pretty short but fast. I did my fastest 100yards to date: 1:22ish. It was not that bad, I should have start faster, maybe I would have been able to go sub-1:20. Next time:)

Then 30min of easy aquajogging. Just an easy run, I do not want to do any intervals because ITB has been acting up the whole day:( What's wrong with that f**** thing?!?

I am off to Montreal tomorrow. I cannot wait. Although I was looking forward to kicking PPC's behind in a 5k race on Sunday, which I cannot now, I am sure I will have great time:)
My trip there would be a nightmare however. Car to Windsor, train to Toronto, night bus to Ottawa, morning bus to Montreal. The same on my way back arriving in Windsor little before midnight on Monday. If I am not here on Tuesday, the hockey guy decided to take revenge on our master bedroom mattress episode last weekend and left me in downtown Detroit to my destiny...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ok, I am changing my strategy

So my triathlon is 18 days from now and since I have not seriously run for 2 months!!!! there is no way I can get in a decent running shape by then so there is no point in forcing it now. But I want to do the race. And it seems that my ITB decided not to cooperate.
Last year it was 3 months of running followed by 1 month off. Then I managed to go 6 months of running and now it is already 2 months off. You see the pattern?

Anyway, it does not feel hot so I decided not to even try running until it feels at least 95%.
If I do not run at all for now, I am positive that I will be able to run 6 miles without making it worse. Sure, it will suck and I will be SLOW but at least I will be able to finish and not screw it up even more.

But this being me I might change my mind tomorrow.

I did bike workout today, nothing too hard.20x1min hard but 1min is short so it was not too bad.

My future is still undecided. One week it seems bright and I have hope only to have that hope crashed few days later by HR and their stupid policies. My life could have been awesome and everything could have been figured out if it were not for those stupid policies!!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nothing new

Apart from the fact that today was the first day I did not have to use gloves on my bike ride to work. Yeah, spring is here:)

I had a decent pretty easy swim followed by 15min aquajogging. Not great but better than nothing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fighting my weakness

I had a very good swim. Not so much physiologically as psychologically.

I am going to reveal my main set here because I think that it is important in order to understand the main idea of this post.
5 X (2 x 50 yards sprint! @ 1:00, 1 x 100 sprint! @ 2:30), holding :40's for the 50's and 1:25's for the 100's. Faster than that = better, but not so fast on the first set that you're dying at the end. Hold your form. IF you're completely falling apart after the 4th time through, skip the 5th set. Only do the 5th set if you think you can nail it with good form and fast times.

At first I thought that it should be not that bad because I will get 1min rest after 100s but then I realized that I will get only 20sec before crazy fast 100. Plus my fastest 100 to date is 1:23 so 5 of them at 1:25....so very close call! I was already sure that I was going to do 4 sets only.

1st: working as hard as I could on 50s: both 39ish, 100 was 1:27ish. Hm not too bad but not as fast I should have gone.
2nd: 50s: both in 40, 100 in 1:29. I was actually surprised to see sub 1:30 because it felt horrible. I honestly thought that it will be close to 1:40, that's how hard and slow it felt.
Already before this 100 negative thoughts started to creep in and I started to think that here is no way I can do the 3rd one and that I should take 1min extra break after the second one. But then as the clock arrow started to get closer and closer to my start time I decided no, that would be cheating at myself. And I gave myself a permission to take a longer break after the 3rd if I need to.
3rd: 50s: 40, 42; 100:1:30
Clearly I was getting slower and my legs were hurting badly on 100 and I could not move my arms as fast as I would want to although they did not hurt, they just would not move. But again, as start time for the 4th set was approaching I decided to go for it and not to cheat. What the heck, it is the last one, I can suffer for few more minutes. I was not worried about 50s, I can suffer for 40sec, it was 100 that was giving me chills. I was thinking "embrace the pain, embrace the pain". I have never had motto or anything but I like this and I think that I am going to repeat it to myself in races. I have never really thought about the way how to deal with pain (I am not much of a thinker when it comes to sports, except for negative thinking, in that I am an expert), but on Wednesday when I was surfing the internet looking for an advice about bike time trials I read something like this: Bike TTs are pure pain and you should not try to forget about the pain and push it out of your thoughts. You should think about the pain, be aware of it and embrace it. Wow, isn't it awesome? It had quite a powerful effect on me. Anyway, back to my swim.
4th: 50s both in 39; 100 hammer as fast as I could since it was my last one, in 1:27. Surprisingly it did not feel as hard as 100s before although my legs and arms were falling off but overall it felt easier. Thinking "embrace the pain" and it is the last one, then it is over definitely helped.
And when it was over I started to think that maybe I can do the 5th one. Why not? I can try. I can pull off 50s, they are short, I can suffer for 40sec. And for 100...well, no pressure. I can try and if it is very very hard I can quit because technically I am not hitting my times and I got clear instructions that I should not do it unless I can hit my fast paces. I know, not the greatest attitude ever but it somehow helps me to lift the pressure of myself. I know I am not going to quit but giving myself the possibility to quit helps me a lot mentally and I perform better when I do not put pressure on myself. So I went for it.
5th: 50s in 39, 100 hammer and hope it will be under 1:30, in 1:27. That was a surprise because again it did not felt that I was working as hard as in 100s before.
Actually, coming to think about it, it was probably physiologically harder than those 100 before but it was much easier psychologically.
During 1st, 2nd, even 3rd 100s I knew that I still had some 100s ahead of me and that it was going to hurt. But for the 4t and 5th one I knew that it was my last one and there would be no more suffering after it so I can go for it and spend myself and not trying to save myself for following set.

I did not hit 1:25s as I was supposed to, which is a bummer. I tried but I failed. So I am little sad about that.

But the fact that I did not cheat (not that I had cheated ever before) although I was very very very very tempted and then doing the 5th set is a major milestone for me. I am a wuss when it comes to pain and mental stuff and I tend to give up very easily in races. I do not give up in training but races are a whole new story. Not that I walk off, I just stop pushing when it gets hard. So this is huge for me. I think that I am getting mentally stronger and my racing will improve. I just hope I can transfer this mental toughness from training into racing effectively.
Some athletes might find this discussion stupid and have no idea what my problem is but I am very weak mentally and have hard time to make myself dig deep. I wish I were one of those people who can dig deeper than their actual capabilities are.
Thus I am thrilled about my progress in this department!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bike Time Trial

The local tri club has organized a free bike TT so I figured what the heck, I am going to try it. I have never done any bike races or anything similar.

Someone at the club asked me whether I have done any. I responded that no, I only pretend to be a cyclist. But then I looked at myself and at my bike and realized that I am not even pretending to be a cyclist!

It was very low key event, only few participants. It was 12.5 miles, two loops in Stoney Creek park.

It was a lot of fun. I have read somewhere that you are not supposed to start too hard and that it's better to divide a race into third - first one relatively moderate, then pick it up for the second third and hammer the last third and negative split.
And that was my plan. But then I do not know why my legs started to hurt after only 200m....
I mean really, they hurt. I was trying to think "embrace the pain, embrace the pain" and it seems that it worked.
I followed the plan, moderate, hard, harder. The harder part is just a blur, I do not remember my legs hurting. But I pushed it, although I did not concentrate on a pain, I concentrated on keeping average speed over 35kph (21.73mph).

I got calf cramps in last mile or so. Weird. I wonder whether it means something. Maybe I am not using right muscles.

I did those 12.5miles in 34:18, which is around 21.88mph. And I also negatively splited by around 20sec. So my plan seemed to work.
My highest HR was only 187. I do not know average because my HRM sometimes does not work properly. Maybe I need to change batteries or something.

So, the result is not that great. Holding only 21.8mph for only 12.5 miles is less than spectacular. But I am satisfied anyway.

It was my first race like this and I did not know what to expect. Now I know for future that I can push harder because you are supposed to be spent, right?
Plus I am sure I could be faster on a better bike, using clip-in pedals and shoes and maybe not wearing underwear and running spandex (sorry, I still do that). And maybe biking 17miles to get to the park did not help me either.

So it was good, it was fun. I would love to do it again and of course improve on my time.

I did run afterwards, 7 or 8 x 1min run with 1min walk. Zero discomfort. Sweet!

Something happened to my knee on Tuesday. It hurts above my knee cap on a bike when I put all my weight on bent knee. It did not hurt when riding the trial, but it hurt when I was biking home because it is constant stop and accelerate. It is ok when I do smooth pedal strokes.
So I am going to walk to work tomorrow. I think that I need to take a day off from bike and let the knee rest.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bike and run (yeah, an actual run)

I had a great bike ride today, 1h20min at reasonably fast pace. I decided to do it outside although it is not the greatest idea ever since this is Michigan and I did it after work on roads when everybody was commuting home. But I know a pretty decent road with not many cars so I just went there and this back and forth couple times and it was AWESOME. I felt strong and was cruising around steadily.

Also my ITB felt ok so I did a run afterwards. 10x40ish sec run with 90ish sec walk between. Zero pain. I have rolled and stretched afterwards and am icing now, so hopefully it will be ok.

Monday, May 2, 2011


You know my Master's thesis that I submitted to my prof two weeks ago?

So today I finally received a feedback and I was told that it is highly unsatisfactory because it is not a thesis but a business review of a very specific issue in one company. The prof also told me that my research question was not even a research question. And research must be useful to all companies which might be facing the same issue and not about one specific case. WTF!?!

Last summer I submitted a proposal where I precisely explained what I want to work on. I have not changed a bit and my research question is exactly the same.
My proposal was approved and this professor agreed to work with me. Then she refused to give me any feedback until I send her a finalized draft. WTF again?

I sent her an email explaining to her that she approved the subject and asking why did not she tell me before that my research question is not a research question! I might have mentioned also that I am not a PhD research student but a business management student and thus I find it totally irrelevant for me to write a research paper. I also asked about the purpose of research since if it is supposed to be very general and fit-them-all then what is the point of it? Everyone can choose what fits them, right? Every company is different thus I do not understand of what use a general research might be.

Anyway, I am waiting for her reply and submitting a complaint to a dean because she HAS APPROVED my proposal!!! And what the hell am I supposed to do now when they do not allow me to change my topic that is not appropriate for research?

I am 100% sure that I won't be able to graduate in June. I might try to write something over summer and graduate in September but I am not very optimistic about it. So it seems that I will not graduate until June 2012. F***

I have always regretted going to business school to France (Europe) and if you are thinking about it, DO NOT DO IT! European system sucks big time and profs are mostly jerks. Plus American schools (including Ivy League schools) are easier. Sorry, but it is true.

I have not run today. My ITB has ears and yesterday it heard me saying I might attempt a run so it decided to protest. It did not hurt at all but I again felt that stupid tension. Honestly, the only time I do not feel tension is when biking, after biking or when I roll it. I will try again tomorrow after a bike ride. But shh, do not tell my ITB :)

I did a swim today. Hill repeats. It was not as bad as it used to be, I even managed 4x100 with bands only. Sure there were times I dragged my feet at the bottom of a pool but it was not as bad as it used to be. I am getting muscles!
Plus there was one girl who told me that I must surely be on a swim team:) She said that she used to swim at high school and is trying to get back to swimming shape. And she said that I looked great swimming, gliding and just very nice and efficient. It is always nice to hear something like that!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I gotta stop making fun of Russia

You remember how Russia got beaten by Germany? (I'm talking about ice-hockey here) And I made fun of them.
But, we got beaten by Germany too...ouch.
It must have been a bad omen or something.

We shall see on Tuesday whether we can beat Russia, then I might start making fun again though. Let's hope for that.

Long run

1 hour. I could not do more, pool was too boring and cold.

ITB feels great! Might attempt a walk/run tomorrow!!!