Friday, December 30, 2011

Packing. Almost ready!

I hate packing!!! Because I want to take everything with me but I cannot:(
It is not that I am attached to my clothes. I just do not want to throw away (or give to Salvation Army) stuff that I will have to buy again once I settle down.

It has turned out I have more things than I thought I did. It does not look than much in closets but when I started putting it into suitcases, hm hm hm. It is more than it looks.
I have some clothes and stuff that will go to Salvation Army tomorrow, then I have one suitcase (all of my nice work cloths and shoes, skiing gear and some winter clothes) that I am leaving with a friend. If I come back I will have it here waiting for me, if I don't she will give it to SA. Then I have another suitcase that I am taking with me plus another case for a bike. They are not heavy though but I have to take two with me because I am taking home trainer with me and I cannot put bike and trainer into one case.
And I am taking with me a lot of stupid things like swim paddles and foam roller. I have to because last winter it took visits to 14 different stores in Slovakia to find paddles. And I am 100% that nobody has even heard of something like a foam roller there. Yeah, we (or better they, because I am) are not spoiled by such "gadgets" in Slovakia:)

This moving and getting rid of things has one advantage though! I do not have to do dishes anymore because everything is going into garbage. Well, I have one cup and one plate (I used to have two but the other one broke) so it has never been too much washing dishes anyway, haha.

I am off for the second swim of the day (Main set: 30x100. WTF?!?). My first ever swimming double! Not that I think that it is something special but maybe sometime in the future when I decide to actually keep a good training log I will come back here to try to get some info about my training.

I am going to stay with a friend tomorrow therefore I have to get both swim and bike before she picks me up at 4pm. Tomorrow is probably my last swim in the US. That would be 7 swims in a row (in 6 days). Also 4h ride tomorrow. The longest trainer ride ever. Then 3 hours on Sunday and I will be very close to 20hours. I have a feeling that I should have tried to buy chamois cream or whatever it is called before this weekend. Ouch.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 and 2012

I know that 2011 is not over yet but I doubt that anything huge will happen in next 3 days so recap and next year goals post is in order.

I had a few huge plans for 2011 so let’s recap:

- finish school in June. FAIL. It was kind of a necessity not to finish school if I wanted to stay in the US past May, plus there were some other great benefits for continuing to be a student so no a big deal.
- become a mature adult and find a job (either US, Canada or Australia) FAIL. Ok, I did find a job but cannot do it because of work visa issues. But I hope that the work visa problem will turn out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me because it might allow me to go to work in Germany for few months before coming to work in the US. So keep your fingers crossed because unfortunately it does not depend on me one bit. It is on other people’s hands.

- get very close to 18min in 5k. FAIL. I have not even run 5k.
- run sub 39min for 10k FAIL. I have not run a 10k. I did two 10k in triathlons but that does not count here.
- do at least 3 triathlons. FAIL. I did only 2.
- let's see whether I can swim sub-1:20 for 100 and keep 1:30s for 400-500m. Hm, maybe this one is not a complete fail. I can go sub1:15 for 100 yards and maybe if I tried really really hard I can do one 100m in 1:20 if I had a meter pool somewhere here. No way I can hold 1:30 for 400-500m though. But since these are only “maybes and ifs”, I must consider this one a FAIL as well.
- see whether I can run a half-marathon in fall, which means that I need to take care of my IT band FAIL!

Bummer, all my 2011 goals were fails. But of course none of that is my direct fault:) Well, maybe that 1:20/100m is, that one was totally in my hands. It is that stupid ITB that has caused most of those fails.

But I still think that 2011 was a great year. But honestly, all my years are good! I tend to complain quite a lot but that’s just my nature, I love my life, so do not listen to my complains.
As I said 2011 was a good year. Except for several hick ups, but those were nothing to be overly worried about. I hope at least.
I did two triathlons, which I loved loved loved (I love swimming, biking, running!!!), I loved training for them, I liked my job, I did not mind sleeping on a floor for past ~6 weeks, I made a lot of new friends. Good year indeed.

Now let's move to 2012 goals:
1, take care of that ITB!!!! I.NEED.TO.FIX.IT!!!!!
2, finish school and find a job – there is nothing that should prevent me from graduating. And then hoping for that Germany/US job. Plus law school. I shall see how this all plays out.
3, become a kick-ass triathlete. Michelle has promised this to me:) But this of course depends on both #1 and #2 above.
She has not defined a kick-ass athlete so considering my current fitness for me it means:
3a, run sub-19min for a 5k
3b, run sub-40min for a 10k in a triathlon.
3c, swim 1:20/100yards comfortably. I think that it is doable. Of course it depends on a day but I can swim ~1:27 somehow comfortably now so there is no reason why with consistent training I should not be able to get it down to 1:20, right?
3d, be able to hold 170 watts for ~150HR for 3+ hours. Not sure about this one, since I have zero idea how it works, so maybe it is more like longer-term goal but whatever.
3e, lose/amintain weight. I have never cared about this but maybe it is time to start. It is part of being the best athlete one can be, isn’t it?
4, I have no goal races because as usual I do not know which continent or country I will be living in next year so no point in really planning something.
I am still sad about that Ironman next year. I really wanted to do it! I am 99% sure I will not but there is still that 1% chance that my ITB get miraculously healed in next month and I can put a decent running training in.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boredom, coaches, running, flat tires

It sees that all those people who said I would not last a week when I said I was going to do nothing for few months were right.
It has been 4 days since I started my "doing nothing" period and I am already bored and crawling out of my skin. Although I am sure that it would be better if I had TV:)
Sure, I still have not finished two of my school applications and I need to rewrite my thesis and start packing and cleaning this place so teoretically I have stuff to do. But it is different.

This week will be my first ever training week of 20 hours! Cool, isn't it? I will let you know how (whether) I survive it! I am going to be a good little triathlete and stop eating Assorted Truffles for breakfast.
Although next weekend will be little difficult to do because I am going to more to my friend'shouse to stay with her for a few days between Saturday when I have to leave the apartment and Thursday when I fly to Europe. And her house is around 9miles from my pool so I might not be able to get my Sunday swim in:( Maybe I should decline the New Year's Eve party invitation as well so I feel alive for that 3h ride on Sun after 4h ride on Sat...
Well, technically I do not have to go live with her because I did something stupid but my electicity, internet and water are already scheduled to be disconnected at the end of the month. I did not give a 30-day notice and now I have to pay for the apartment for 20 days in January:( I have tried to negotiate with the apartment management but I was not successful. I am so mad at myself for that. Stupid, stupid, stupid me!

I have only a swim planned for today and because I was bored and weather was gorgeous I decided to try to run. So I walked for 90minutes to the track, ran for 2minutes and walked 90min back:) I do not understand people who drive 30min to get to the gym to walk on a treadmill. That makes zero sense. But my 90-2-90 min makes complete sense to me, of course.
I ran 100m, walked 100m, ran 100, walked 100 and repeated that for two laps around the track. It was not really because I thought that it was going to improve my running fitness. It was more because I don't want all my running neuromuscular connections to die. I did those 100s as strides (so kind of faster) because slow running irrittes the ITB (and I know why. When you run slower, your movements are slower and take longer time and thus ITB has to work longer to stabilize my knee thus it puts more strain on it with every step) and man, was I uncoordinated. Yeah, those neuromuscular connections are dying. So maybe I will do this more often. I am not going to try to really run for few more weeks (probably one more month) but these short strides will maybe help at least a little bit.

I also did my regular PT exercises and I can feel the difference. I am better at balancing/stabilizing myself with the hips. So that's good. Continue like this and hopefully I will be fine.

I am still trying to find myself a coach so last week I sent an email to one coach in Slovakia. You know, one of those guys who eat rice with pineapple for fuel and sleep in tents before their IM races and still go sub-9h. Ok, this one is actually a short-course coach and triathlete, although his IM PR is 8:31. Unfortunately, he charges 50 euros/month, which is around 60 Euros more than I can afford. Maybe I should have contacted someone other than Slovak duathlon, and sprint and Oly tri champion but when you want to be the best you have to work with the best!!!
He wants to meet with me so I might do that because he is kind of cute and single. (Just kidding. Well, he is cute and single but that's not a reason why I might meet with him. I cannot work with him but getting more info will not kill me.)

I think that I will rather work on my own until I can get a good coach than spend money on some mediocre coach with whom I won't see adequate results for the money.

Any idea why I am getting flats on trainer? I had no problem until about 3 weeks ago and since then I got a second flat. It is not a pucture, it is like a scratch on a tube.

Friday, December 23, 2011


My Christmas tree:

Nice, isnt' it? Ok, it is not my Xmas tree. I do not have a tree. But if I had one, it would look like that.

I have never spent Xmas alone. I once spent Xmas with my bf at college and last year I spent most of the Xmas Eve on a plane and then at the airport in Amsterdam but then I was still able to stuff my face with potatoes salad, fish and pastries at 10pm after I got home.

Actually I am going to a friend's house for dinner tomorrow so it is not like I am totally lame doing nothing for holidays.
Since I am not a huge cook I decided to bring a wine to tomorrow's dinner. And I figured that it won't be appropriate to buy something at the gas station or that weird hispanic store where I buy most of my groceries, so I did a nice (long) walk to Trader Joe to get something. I do not know anything about wines so I just bought the third one from the left on a second self. Hope it is drinkable.

But the dinner should be nice. It is interesting because in Slovakia Xmas dinner is usually family matter whereas here people go to parties, invite friends for dinner etc. So that's little different.

Other than that nothing going on. Yesterday was my last day at work and I have nothing much to do next week so I am going to put in a huge training week!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Powermeter talk

I have had PowerTap for 2 months or so now so it is time to share my thoughts. I hate it!!!! But read on:)

For first couple weeks I did not really use it to “train” by it, because my aerobic endurance is pretty much pathetic so I continued doing my rides by HR and I needed to “test” myself to see what my power numbers are. But in those first 2-3 weeks it help me to see how inefficient my pedaling is (not steady, watts varying too much, low cadence) so that was useful.
Then for the last ~3 weeks I have been using powermeter for all the intervals and tempos and I stopped using HR monitor for those. I still use HR for steady aerobic rides though.

I think that powermeter is a very useful tool. When I want to become a faster runner I do intervals by pace. It is easy to run by pace because all you need is track and a stopwatch. Or GPS watch. Swimmers do the same for swimming; they time their intervals in pool. So when you want to become a faster biker you should ride by pace as well. But because you cover longer distances by bike it is difficult to go by pace (or speed) without any outside factors coming into play. For example uphills and downhills, wind. Track has no hills (although there might be wind), pool has no hills. It is very unlikely that you can find a loooooong stretch of a road or a loop where you can do any ride or intervals and the intervals being comparable. Road would have to be pretty much completely flat or you would have to do all your intervals on the same segment of a road so the hills come at the same time, wind blows at the same same etc. Not feasible. Thus bike computer with speedometer is not that useful here. Ok, you can use speed as a good metric when you are on a trainer because there are no outside factors but nobody does all the rides inside.

Sure, a lot of cyclists go by HR but no runners or swimmers do their intervals by HR, do they? They might do their aerobic workouts by heart rate, but not fast tempos or intervals. So why should cyclists do that?

Powermeter makes me work the intervals/tempos much harder than going by HR does and I think that it keeps the workout more honest.
For example when I used to do tempos before it meant keeping my HR in a certain range, for example ~170-175 range for 20min. It was not easy but to do that I had to get my HR up quickly and then hold it stable and holding it stable there meant that I slowed down eventually and was working easier and easier because if I kept the same effort my HR would rise. However, when I do the tempo by watts I do not have to slow down and I am able to push harder, my HR increases more gradually and goes over 180. Although my effort get higher and higher as well. And I think that this is better, you are supposed to push yourself in intervals, right? And not slow down to keep your HR in check.

Therefore I think that powermeter is essential for intervals, tempos and pretty much everything except aerobic rides. Thus I am very glad that I have it.

Although I hate it. Why? Because it is so freaking hard going by it! It hurts. Maybe my prescribed watts are off and therefore I cannot hit some of my intervals but even if they were lower it would still be more difficult. I used to not like swimming very much and dreading my workouts because I was not able to hit my prescribed paces. Now I do not like biking and am dreading it because I am not able to hit my prescribed watts and it makes me frustrated. Yes, yes, I know that with consistent work I will get there as I did with swimming. But I would prefer to be there already! :)
Is powermeter worth its price? Of course not! Nothing is worth $700+. Also GPS watches are not worth what they costs. But like with everything else until it becomes more common-flow gadget and more manufacturers start to make it there is nothing we can do about it but to suck it up if we do not want to wait couple more years.

By the way, I submitted law school applications to UCLA, Stanford, Virginia, Colorado-Boulder yesterday. I am still working on scholarship essays for NYU and application essays for Michigan and Georgetown but I should have it done by the next week. Cornell and Columbia did not give me application fee waivers and I still have not received UPenn’s decision. Those damn Ivy Leagues! Well, their loss, I cannot pay $100 per school application. LSAT score should be in on Jan 6th and then I will see whether I have a real chance to get into one of those school or whether I just need to wait for a miracle.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Strength, Ironman, marathon, flip turns, family talk

I do not have any strength!!!! It is pathetic.
Ever since I stopped running, riding outside (aka riding on at least some hills, although these mole bumps are not really hills) or lift heavy weights (although I have not lifted those that much), I have no lower body strength. Plus riding really hard gears irritates my ITB so I cannot do that.

I did my long ride on Saturday and I was alternating between my usual cadence/gear and bigger gear/lower cadence and it was HARD. And Sunday and also last Sunday I did some high power intervals and could not hit my prescribed power. Too hard. Sure, part of it was going long the day before but I think that the main problem is my lack of strength.

Two weeks ago I made a deal with myself that I was going to ride my bike to work in hard(ish) gear only. It was a struggle at first, now it is much better.

I really need to stop half-assing my strength training and start to take that stuff seriously.

ITB feel good, so I might for a short Christmas run next weekend. Although it always feels good until I try running:(

I talked with my mom on skype on Saturday and we had the following two conversations:
Mom: Are you looking forward to coming home?
Me: Yes, of course I am.
Mom: I cannot believe that you said that.
Me: Everyone needs to lie sometimes not to hurt others’ feelings.
Mom: Hahahaha, now that’s more like you.
Clearly, I watch way too much of those stupid family comedy shows.

# 2: My mom works for the city and she has a card to get free access to the city pool and she said that I can use it (until they catch me and kick me out….).
Me: That’s great because I need to swim a lot.
Mom: Why?
Me: Because I am a lousy swimmer and I need to get better.
Mom: Why?
Me: (here I took 10 deep breaths before responding) Because you get better with training. And I think that I can be really good at this triathlon thing and therefore I need to train a lot to become good.
Mom: Can you be good in races in Slovakia? (Some name) told me that there are people who go to different races and actually earn money that way.
Me: Yes Mom, I think that I can be good in races in Slovakia. And yes, there are people called professional athletes and make living winning races.
Oh, it will really be interesting living and training there…

I have been trying to collect some info about Olympic distance tri training and the resources are very limited resources. A friend gave me his old issues of Triathlete and it seems that 90% of that stuff is about Ironman. Also most blogs are about Ironman. Online training plans, books and articles, everything is about Ironman. What is so special about Ironman? Sure, I might sounds like a hypocrite because I want to do one myself, but still? There are so many other interesting tri distances and races. What about ITU circuit or those American draft-legal tri series (who name I do not know)? Ironman is not even an Olympic sport and you do not have to be among the best in the world to go to Ironman World Championship. Ok, when you are a pro you need to be among the best but for age groupers, no. And I am not even going to start about my opinion of Kona….
It is the same with marathon. There are way more resources for marathon training than for 5k training. Why do people prefer doing marathons to 5k? I think that it is because people think longer=harder. I have heard many times someone saying “I am racing only a 5k this week”, or “I am racing only an Oly distance tri this weekend.” Only? As if it was something to be ashamed of not doing marathon or Ironman but something shorter instead.
Even people who are clearly better at shorter distance do marathons because marathons are “in” or something. Yes, I know, I am better at shorter distances and I did marathon and I want to do Ironman, I am guilty. But I want to do it once to try it and then go back to shorter distances:)

My swimming is going well though :) I did my longest pool workout ever on Friday. 4600yards! It was supposed to be 4500 but because I am an overachiever I did 100yards extra as a cool-down:) At the end I was doing sets of some descending decent pace 100s on a pretty long rest and as I was descending I was looking forward to the start of a new set because then I would be able to chill out and go somehow easy – 1:30 pace. I am so happy to be able to say that 1:30 is chill out pace!
Plus Friday was the first time I did flip turns on fast 100s. I try to do flip turns during warm ups and cool down and sometimes for fast 50s but I never do them in 100s because my flip turns are far from being perfect and sometimes I go too deep, sometimes to shallow, sometimes I had to hold my breath for too long and then I get to oxygen debt and I do not want that for 100s…But on Friday and I did it! Awesome. I did not do all 3 turns as flip turns, I did 1st and 3rd turn because my stroke never played out well for the 2nd and I knew that it will probably lead to disastrous turn so I just turned at a wall as usual.
Maybe those flip turns are the reason why I went faster than I thought I would be able to go. Who knows. So now that I know that I can do then ok even for 100s, I will start incorporating them to my intervals as well. And hopefully in couple months I will feel comfortable enough to do them all the time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Desk clean up and moving

I had a sticker at my desk at work that had

on it. So I can stare at it and burn it into my brain. Some mental tricks I picked up from Ana-Maria:)

Those were rough estimates of what I wanted to do in Mont Tremblant in August. I threw the sticker away today because I do not need it anymore. Isn’t that just sad?

But my boss was at Frankfurt Christmas Market (talk about war zone. Frankfurt Xmas fair is over 600 years old and it is unbelievably popular and thus crowded. I have never been there but so I have heard) last week and she brought me some awesome German Xmas cookies! So that should help me get over this IM business:)

I am also doing some last minute gear shopping. You know, the Stick, tri shorts, goggles, swim suit. Because when something costs 20 Dollars here, it costs 20 Euros in Europe and although Euro is going down badly, it is still cheaper to buy stuff here. Plus you can find good deals here, whereas in Slovakia, not so much.
I think that I am also packing home trainer with me. I bought the thing for $20 (or maybe $50, I do not remember. It is not the best trainer ever but it does the trick for me) and there is no way I can get deal like that in Slovakia.

So basically, I am taking with me all the training gear/cloths and leaving all normal stuff at Goodwill:) Because I am going to spend more time using the training gear than I am normal cloths. My mom and dad would be so happy when they see my suitcase:)
And then when I have to come back to the US (keep your fingers crossed), I will just leave all that in Slovakia and buy new stuff here.
At first I was thinking abotu taking only 1 luggage, the bike with bunch of other stuff packed there and just pay overweight fee. But now I cannot have bike frame and home trainer in one case (metal to metal, that would be so bad) so I am bringing two pieces of luggage and it will be still worth it.

I hate moving! You might be surpirsed to hear that since in last 3 years I moved from the US to Slovakia, spent a summer there, moved to France for a year, then moved to Slovakia for summer, then moved back to France for a year, then went to Michigan for summer, then hauled everything to California, then hauled everything back to Michigan, and now I am moving back to Slovakia. Exciting, isn't it?:) Not so much if you really have no "base camp" where you can leave all your cloths etc. Sure, there is some of my stuff at my parents house (although I told my parents to get rid of it but it seems that my mom won't let go and thinks/hopes that one of her little babies will come back home:) And geez, why that must be me?), but it is not like a few hours drive to get something I need or go store something there. So basically I always have to pack all my belongings into a suitcase or two because I cannot buy everything new every 6-12 months I move from country to country. I wish I could though.
Although I hate moving and all the hassle, I really want to go to work in Germany in spring for a few months and then come back to the US. I hope it works out. Germany would be super awesome!!! Sure, I have no idea how it works there when you need to find an apartment, open a bank account (I already have bank accounts in three different countries), pay taxes (I also pay taxes in those three different countries, so one more won't make a difference, xoxo) but it would be super cool. I probably won't be able to have a super exciting conversation with anyone for few weeks (unless it is about invoices, sales, purchase orders etc because that's all I talk about at work and thus my German vocab is slightly biased into that direction) but still, it would be super awesome!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Planning 2012 season

I think that I should start thinking what I am going to do next year and somehow start putting a training plan together.

There are way too many unknows though. One thing is sure, I am going home on Jan 5th, I am not doing IM Mont Tremblant and I want to race Olympic distance races next year (and years to come).

Other than that, I have no idea what is going to happen to me. Will I go to law school in August? Will I go to work in Germany in February? Will I go work in Germany and then relocate to the US after a few weeks? NO IDEA!!!!

Here are races I might possibly do, assuming I remain in Slovakia:
28. 04. 2012 duathlon or 29. 04. 2012 duathlon
05. 05. 2012 duathlon
26. 05. 2012 duathlon
03. 06. 2012 Oly triathlon
30. 06. 2012 Sprint triathlon
14. 07. 2012 Half-Ironman – we shall about this one. I can surely fake running 13.1 miles but I do not want to screw ITB up again.
11. 08. 2012 Oly triathlon
18. 08. 2012 Oly triathlon
22. 09. 2012 Xterra triathlon

Lot of races, but it might be fun and I need experience. I will try to peak for Slovak Champs, which they have not decided yet which one of those above Oly races it will be. You do not have to qualify or anything for that. I think. You just need a tri license.
I might do a winter triathlon as well in February– run, mountain bike, cross-country skiing. But that would be probably little too ambitious.

And of course everything depends on my ITB as well.

Races in Slovakia are not as ridiculously expensive as races in the US are. Although I do not know exactly about tri races, but for example running races are either free or cost couple Euros (like 3-4 euros), so I will be able to afford racing. And hopefully I can get my parents to lend me their car or give me a ride there or something.

Although racing should be ok, I am little concerned about my training assuming I will have to live with my totally unsupporting parents. But hopefully I can re-educate them and teach them I need to get my workouts in!!! They just do not understand why someone would do a consistent training in one sport. And I will be able to train full-time and I want to train a lot so there might be some clashes:) If worst comes to worst I will just move to their house by the lake as soon as snow thaws. But there is no pool there... Maybe I can move to an empty house where my grandparents used to live. That would be awesome! Little scary sure, but I would be able to do whatever I need to do. But heating is powered by electricity so the bill would be huge and showering there is little tricky, because you have to use fire to heat the water up in a huge tank every time you want to take a shower and believe me chopping wood and starting fire and all the hassle would be the last thing I will want to do after the workout. I did that for 2 summers, it was ok, but it would be a different story in winter/spring. Hm, maybe I can go to take showers at my other grandparents’. And they will also feed me while I will be there:) And there is a pretty good pool in a nearby city. The pool where my parents live is horrible, although they live now in one of the biggest cities in Slovakia. It is more like bathing pool, not swimming pool. Sure, I will have to walk 4 miles to get to the pool because I cannot pay for bus everyday, but I will have nothing better to do anyway. Maybe I can become a local weirdo there as well and try to ride my mountain bike daily in snow. But then I am sure that some old lady will mention that to my grandparents and they will tell me to cut that out. Man, don’t you just love living in rural area in Eastern Europe? Sweet. Ok, I have a plan. Although I have a feeling that my parents would not be thrilled about my plan. We shall see.

First weeks in January will be little all over the place, because I will have to try to find a routine etc. I am looking into buying a home trainer and the cheapest one I can find is 130Euros! That’s way too much. My current trainer is fluid Tracx I bought on craigslist for $20. Problem is that we have nothing like craigslist, amazon, ebay in Slovakia where you can get whatever you want. And I do not know where to look for used stuff. Plus I guess that still not a lot of people use trainers thus chances of buying a used one might be limited. I have sent emails to some people and bike stores asking for advice, we shall see whether they get back to me. If not, I will just buy the 130Euro one. Then I should be able to roll:) And I will treat that like a beginning of a re-educating my parents. That should show them that I am dead serious about this stuff, although if they have not “got” it by now, I doubt they will get it now. I think that I managed to run consistently only because I was not living with my parents for the most part ever since I left for high school.

Anyway, my very rough weekly training plan is this. Not sure whether it makes sense, I need to work on it little bit more. I will do that after I am done with my law school applications. Any suggestions?

Oly specific
Oly specific
Oly specific
Oly specific/taper
Oly race
Oly specific
Oly specific
Oly specific
Oly specific
Oly specific/taper
Oly race

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I did 80min bike ride today with avg power 155 and avg HR 146.
First 40' with 5min warm up was P 152 and HR 141, second 40' P 158 and HR 146.

How awesome is that? This is huge for me:)
When it was 55min into the ride and I was pushing power in 160s with HR 147-149 I actually stopped and went to get my other heart rate monitor because I thought that the one I was using was broken:) But no, also the other one was showing the same HR.
Times when I was pushing 140 watts with HR 150 are forgotten. I hope:)

It seems that my biking is coming along (well, the aerobic stuff. FTP/trashhold is a different story, but there is no need to work on that just yet. I have enough time for that next year, right?) as well as swimming. Huge improvements from last year.
Now I just need to fix ITB issue and start working on my run too. Grrrr!

I am off to 1000s pool workout now. I know that it is not the best idea to do it after bike. I wanted to do the ride in the morning but when I was still lying in my bed awake at 11:15pm, I turned the 5:30am alarm off and decided to get more sleep.


I had a great swim.
3x1000 yards, first warm up, and then two strong/steady, the third one faster than the second one.
1st 500 8:37 2nd 8:35 total: 17:12 pace 1:43
1st 500 7:38 2nd 7:34 total: 15:12 pace 1:31
1st 500 7:34 2nd 7:30 total: 15:04 pace 1:30.5

Nice improvement. And all with negative split. I started strong, then tried to keep it steady and then picked it up in last 400.
The last 400 I told to myself, it is only 2x200 in 3:00, easy-peasy, I can do that.
It actually was not that hard. I was able to lift my arms to wash my hair afterwards:)
Next time I do this workout, sub-15min it is.

Also funny thing is that I rarely forget something when I go swimming. I have never forgotten goggles or swim suit or towel. I occasionally forget a band. And I have forgotten swim cap three times. And all three times for 3x1000 workout, which I did 4 times so far. Isn't that weird? I must be so excited for this workout that I am not thinking clearly beforehand:)

I honestly think that todays great workouts are due to what I ate today. I was basically hooked up on sugar.
* I do not eat like this every day. Only occasionally but that then it is really bad.*
Breakfast: Soy milk with oatmeal, cereals, frozen strawberries
Snack @10ish: some kind of sesame bars (worth of 1500 calories...I just checked the packaging)
Lunch @ noon (we had company Xmas lunch today, yummy): salad, turkey with little bit of pasta, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccolli, dinner roll. 1 piece of cheesecake, 1 piece of cherry pie, 1 piece of pumpkin pie, countless amount of small pastries
Snack @4: frozen strawberries (well, thawed)

So a lot of sugar, thus I had enough energy for the workouts.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breakthrough and ITB

First the ITB.
I went to see the sport PT yesterday. My reputation has once again preceeded me. I have never met this lady but she knows a lot of people from the club. As soon as I walked in she asked me whether I rode my bike there because one of her clients on Friday told her that I would probably bike there since I am super crazy:) Oh course I biked there, I was not going to walk 9+ miles each way to get there. I just put on like 10 layers and it was all good:)

Basically she told me that it is definitelly my ITB and that those exercises I have been doing are good, they help to strengthen the hip stabilizers but they are not effectively transfering that strength to running. I need to do exercises that are activities in standing and look something like the movement pattern of running.
She showed me bunch of exercises and stretches to do.
She told me that she is not surprised that my ITB is irritated because for example when I stand on one leg it is horrible and that I better stop that until I learn to do it correctly because it is making it even worse.
She also said that I have a body of a cyclist- strong quads and relatively very weak abdominal muscles. Huh, must be all that riding my bike everywhere.
Also my standing posture is pretty bad, I tuck my butt in and non-activate my abs at all. Dang, seems like my mom was right all those years after all:)

So with these new exercises I should be all good in couple weeks/months. That time period is what I am saying, of course, but sounds reasonable to me. So my running enthusiasm and excitement is back:)

And now onto the breakthrough. Bike breakthrough, that is. My bike rides in past six weeks have been pretty much pathetic. HR too high and watts too low. One month ago my average watts for HR 150 were around 140watts. And sometimes it even seemed like I was going "backwards"- average watts going lower for a certain HR.
But last weekend (not my disastrous FTP test, but Sunday's ride) and rides this week were pretty good. Yesterday I did my long ride and my average power for 150HR was around 150 watts. So around 10 watts higher than one month ago! And this was the trend in last week so it probably was not a fluke!
It is exciting, isn't it?

Becoming a fat-burning endurance aerobic machine is probably not as important for short-course races as it was for IM training, but it is probably important in the greater scheme of things. So I will probably continue doing these 3h rides throughout winter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lots of changes coming up

There is quite a lot of going on now. Mostly bad stuff, but that's nothing new these days.

I sold my road bike today and reserved a flight ticket home. I am going to buy a round trip ticket with return in the middle of August because I am hoping to come back for school. Actually I am still hoping for a job later in the year because there is still some hope (working in Germany for some time and then they send me to the US on an assignemnt) but I am not going to count on that one bit. And of course I am going to keep looking for a job elsewhere as well.

I have decided not to do Ironman Mont Tremblant next year. I want to but I have been thinking about it for few days now and not doing it is for the best. There are couple reasons for that.
My messed up ITB is the big one. I do not think that I can get it well enough to train adequately to perform well and IM training and racing would probably end up messing it up even more.
Another reason is that I will be a self-coached athlete next year, at least for several months. There is no drama going on, I love my coach and think that she is great, it is for pure financial reasons. Being unemployed student in eastern Europe means that I just can't afford a coach. Bummer, but what can I do? Hopefully I can find a coach once I have some money coming in and I will still have time to join ITU circiut before 2016:)
Those of you that read my ramblings probably know that I know very little about triathlon and I have no idea what I am doing. I used to be a runner and I have tried to train myself for marathon and that's when all this mess with ITB started. So can you imagine what I would do to myself if I tried to train myself for Ironman? I will probably kill myself, especially since I can train full-time for next 4-5 months.
But if you know someone who enjoys tri coaching just for the joy of it and wants to help me, send them my way:)

I am going to stick to Olympic distance for next year. Logically, shorter distance = less damage I can do to myself:)
My plan is swim a lot lot lot (that's what you need to do for draft-legal Oly races, right? You need to be an uber swimmer. I will look up some Oly dist workouts and swim swim siwm. I looked up some results in Slovakia and it seems that every woman that does triathlon there is an awesome swimmer and then some fall apart on a bike and everyone falls apart on a run. So I know that I would have to swim at least 22min to be in contention in these races in Slovakia. There is very little chance that I can swim that fast next year, but consistency and mileage counts for the future), do some hard bike rides/increase my lactate treshold (although I am not sure yet how to do that either, lot of research to do) and I will let PCC craft me into a kick-ass runner:)

I was thinking about selling my tri bike as well and getting a good road bike. Oly races in Slovakia are all draft-legal but since I am hoping to make it back to the US soon, I am going to keep the bike. I can still sell it in Slovakia if I decide to and cover the cost of transport because bikes there are much more expensive.
Once I am in Slovakia, I might try to look into "converting" P2 into a road bike. You know, getting road bike handles bars and just switch that and ride the tri bike in a road bike set up.

So that's it. Sounds like a plan?

Ok, maybe it is not a real plan yet but I am still working on it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9th????

Can you believe that it is already 9th of December???? I cannot! Time flies. I am out of here in 3 weeks. My future is still one big unknown and I do not have a flight booked yet but I am out of here nevertheless.

I did a swim on Wednesday (I usually do not swim on Wed) and I started my 100s when a guy in a lane next to me asked me whether he could join me and try to keep up. Sure, why not. I never swim with people so it might a nice change. I swap few times with people in LA but I had no idea what I was doing back then so it was different.
It was nice to have competition:) I was supposed to go fast so I did not have to constrain myself. He hanged on for around 70yards but then he started fading but I still did not want him to catch me so I pushed. Well, I did not go very fast (1:24s) but I think that I went faster than I would have gone had I been alone. He did all 8 with me.

Do you know someone in Detroit area looking for a bike? I need to sell mine asap! I wanted to sell it before, then when the job offer cam I had no reason to sell it anymore but now I need to sell it again.

I am a bad sister. My sister wants me to come to Tulsa for Xmas, but I do not really want to go. Too much hassle. But I will probably go. But not for Xmas Eve, little after, maybe on 25th or 26th of Dec.

I might not be a very cheerfull person in general because I am actually excited that I do not have to deal with buying Xmas presents for my family. I am very glad that in my family we buy presents only for immediate family (like I buy presents only for my parents and my sister, sometimes something small for my grandparents) and now it seems that do not even have to do that. I hate buying presents. I never know what to buy and I really do not care much about getting anything either (although I am thankfully that my parents paid for LSAT as my Xmas present:)). It is funny because my sister is an opposite of me, she LOVES buying and getting presents. She also prefers spending Xmas with family and this will be her second time in a row she will not be home for Xmas. I feel bad now, I wish I have thought of that before and I could have been saving some money and bought her flight home as a present (although that little knucklehead still owes me money for a flight ticket I bought for her fiancé to go to Slovakia in summer). But on the other hand, I don’t have money to buy a flight ticket home for myself, so… and she probably does not want to go that desperately since now she has her fiancé to spend holiday with. It is all good.

I freaked out about ITB a little bit yesterday (now I know that I should have done this over 2 years ago but I have realized only recently that it is getting worse and worse) and I called a PT who has been highly recommended. I do not think that the PT I went to before was really good, because she did not do sport therapy and she was pretty young, but this one works with athletes so hopefully she can give me better advice. Maybe it is not even ITB. I think that it is ITB but there is something else going on there I think because sometimes I get this ache in a different spot and I am starting to think that that might be causing the overall problem. So I called this other PT and she told me that she does house calls. So I decided to do that. However, then she got back to me and said that she would not be able to come to my place until 20th of Dec but that she had an opening in her clinic on Sat and whether I can come. 20th is too late and the clinic is only 9 miles, we do not have that much snow, and temperatures are reasonable, thus I told her that I would come tomorrow. So I am going to pay big bucks for a consultation but as I said before, I need to solve this problem otherwise I can throw away all my running shoes and become a cyclist or something:( Which I do not want to do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Bad things happening.

First of all, I cannot run. I ran on Sunday, had no problem and today my ITB started to bother me a bit. I do not get it since I took 1.5 months off, ITB did not bother me at all, not at all and I do one lousy run and bang!
Ok, so I am continuing with my PT exercises and praying. Dammit!

US stopped accepting work visa petitions yesterday (or sometimes last week but laywers called yesterday), so I cannot get work visa. They are trying to figure out something else but I better sell the bike and buy a flight ticket direction Europe. Dammit!

But good new is, that I somehow persuaded NYU and University of Colorado to give me application fee waivers (Ok, I just presented clear facts). Which makes me even more stressed because I am saving over $500 on applications and I totall blew it with LSAT. Dammit!

How is your day? :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bike thoughts

I did 3h ride today and it was one of the best rides ever. Seriously.
Based on today's ride and few other rides in past 2 weeks, I think that yesterday's disaster was just a one-time disaster and that the plan is indeed working. In some aspects anyway.

You see, couple weeks ago I did 3h ride at avg power 171 and my HR started at 145 and then went up up up very quickly and it was 175+ by the end. So huge cardiac drift. Then I did several rides where I was focusing on keeping that drift in check and I could do around 30min at certain power and HR would be steady and after 30min HR will start shooting up up up again, I had to take 1 min easy spin to get it down and then after 3min it will go up again so I had to go back and forth.
However, for example today that did not happen.
I did 25’ w/up <140 watts, 30’ at 145-155, 30‘ 155-165, 30’ 145-155, 30’ 155-165, 30’ 165-175.

First 1.5h was ok, nothing spectacular, I had a little crisis at around 75min but nothing else worth mentioning, plus I did not really pay attention.

But then the last 1.5h was awesome. 30’ 145-155 felt like soft pedaling, because if I went like my legs wanted to I would be 155+ all the time. And my HR stayed in ~150 the whole time, it did not go up at all. Then 30’ 155-165 was again very easy, I had to constrain myself because I was going up to 170 when I stopped paying attention and my HR was <155 the whole time. 30’ 165-175 was not soft pedaling anymore but it was still pretty easy and my HR stabilized itself at 158, and stayed there for 25min and then it went to 159-160 for last few minutes. Sometimes I had to stop pedaling for few seconds to find more comfortable position on a saddle and my HR would go down to <150 in like 10sec and then when I started pedaling it went back up to 158 and stayed there.

I think that that’s pretty good, isn’t it?

So, my HR is still pretty high for a particular power (or my watts are too low for a particular HR), holding HR ~155ish for 175ish watts would be perfect. But at least I can see that cardiac drift is not as pronounced as it was couple weeks ago.

Also this ride is another example of this: When I ride at certain HR (let’s say 150), my power is low (~140), but then when I ride at certain power (let’s say 150) my HR is lower (~150) than it would have been if I rode at HR representative of that 150 power (if I rode by HR, I would have to be at ~155 to generate 150 watts.). Does that make sense?

I wonder whether it is because when I ride by power I want to keep HR as low as possible thus I can calm myself down by easy breathing etc and keep HR low. Whereas when I ride by HR, I just want to keep HR at the number I am supposed to be doing and I don’t care what my power really is. Basically, when riding by power, I can control my HR, but when riding my HR I cannot control my power. Makes sense?

Ok, now my hip flexors are really tight. I hope that they are tight because I pull up (and forward backward on top and bottom) as well and thus that I do nice full stroke circles.

Also when we moved aerobars little bit closer together, my shoulders started to bother me a little bit after rides but now it seems that they have adapted to new position because I had no problem yesterday.

2 miles. You hear that?!? I ran 2 miles

Count down is over:)
It has been raining pretty much the whole day but I found a 3h window to go running without getting completely soaked.
I have decided to walk to the track. I wonder to run on a track because all grassy areas are soaked and I did not feel like biking there. So I walked, it takes me little over an hour.

I ran 800m, walked 100m, and repeated that 4 times.
Originally I was thinking about doing 1mile, later I changed my mind to 1.5mile and while I was running I decided to do 2 miles.
I was making effort not to let my knee bend inwards.

Then I did few drills (high knees, butt kicks), slaped ice on my knee (yeah, I carried ice pack with me to the track), did few stretches, little bit of massage (I carried tenis ball with me) and then walked back home.
And on my way home my hips were killing me. No hips like joints, but those muscles around. Precisely those that I work on strengthening. I have never experienced that before. Once I got home and sit down it stopped hurting.
I hope that it was because now I am actually engaging those muscles when running. That would be good.

I was also trashed. What 2 miles can do to you when you are painfully out of shape.

I still have 3h bike ride to do.... But I need few more minutes of rest.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

FTP test #2, Dec 3 2011

FTP on Oct 19
Avg power: 224.2 (236 – 5%)
Avg HR: 181
Avg cadence: 86
Weight: 150lb; 68.04kg
FTP: 3.29 watts/kg = 1.49 watts/lb

Today's test:
Avg power: 210.9 (222 – 5%)
Avg HR: 183
Avg cadence: 93
Weight: 150lb; 68.04kg
FTP: 3.09 watts/kg = 1.406 watts/lb

My power is 14 watts lower today than it was 6 weeks ago.

I was almost crying 10min in because it was so freaking hard. I tried to push watts at around 240 and I did it for around 8min and then I could not do it any more.

I have 3 theories:
1, whatever I am doing bike-wise is not working. The trend in last few weeks has been HR up, power down, so exact opposite to what it is supposed to be doing.
2, all other excitement in my life (e.g. LSAT this morning) is taking its toll, although I am not realizing it
3, I have changed saddle and thus position since the last test

Plus I have changed HR monitor since the last test therefore HR are probably not 100% comparable.
Oh yeah, and Thanksgiving (aka pies) and ice-cream last week might have something to do with it but honestly, I do not think that my diet this and past week was much different from what it had been around Oct 19.

I am not going to freak out about this one crappy workout (although sure, I am pretty mad now because this is not what it is supposed to be). I have over 8 months till IM. It sounds like a long time so hopefully I can become a decent cyclist by then. Although I do not have a clear definition what a decent cyclist mean. I just want to place high in that f***ing thing.
However, if this trend continues in January then I am probably going to start freaking out and then we need to start thinking about tweaking it little bit.


I might kiss my law school plan good bye after today. I took LSAT. I knew that I was not going to excel due to my own stupidity and laziness. But there is really no need to bang my head against the wall now because I cannot do anything about the fact that I decided to go to law school too late and I decided to shoot for good schools too late and thus I did not have enough time to study as much as I would need to get 93+ percentile. Live and learn.
But ok, I was still confident that I can get ~85%, which is not enough for Yale or Harvard, but combined with my GPA should be good enough for some other Ivy Leagues and such.

However, I do not think that LSAT went that great today. My sister said that I was exaggerating and would still do better than most people but the thing is that doing better than most people is not enough, I needed to do better than 90% of people.
I won't know my score until the first week of January but I do not have a good feeling about it. I kind of feel that I would be lucky if I get 80% because I totally ran out of time on reading comprehension section and I completelly screwed up one "logical games" section. Really, I did like 70% of the questions and just randomly guessed the rest. There is still a 50% chance that precisely this one section is the "experimental one" and thus does not count. Man, that would be awesome. But if it is not, then I can pretty much forget about good law schools.

I am still going to apply to schools though. Stanford, UCLA and Tulsa have granted me application fee waivers so I am applying there no matter what my score is because I have nothing to loose. I am waiting for the decision about fee waivers from Cornell, UMichigan and UPenn, which based on my profile should give me waivers.
If I get them, I am going to apply. If I do not, I am going to wait till Jan to find out my score and then decide, because I cannot spend $300 on applications to schools that I have no chance to get to.
I might apply to University of Colorado no matter what my score is (they do not give fee waivers) and I will wait for my score because deciding whether I apply to Berkley (no waivers either).

Now I have this off my back at least and I can concentrate on finally redoing my thesis:)

And I am going to do another bike FTP test. I am not looking foward to it, it is going to hurt. But now I have an idea what I should shoot for so at least it will be easier mentally because it is always so much easier for me to push myself when I have a goal and can gauge mt efforts by that.

And run tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One year anniversary and bullet points

- 1 year ago I finally pulled the trigger. One year ago Michelle started to carve me into a triathlete. I would say that she is doing pretty good so far.

- some people from the club have decided to start Push-ups challenge. I did 100 Push-ups challenge last year in spring and after 5 weeks I bagged it because it got too difficult, I took 1 week of to recover and then I never got back to it.
I ddi the initial test today and it 36 push-ups. Am I pathetic or what? I need to start a pull-up challenge as well because I can do like 1 probably:)

- two law schools gave me application fee waiver. Next week I should know from few other schools about the waiver. Maybe I will be able to apply to more than 3 schools after all!

- I should receive my relocation financial assistance in next two weeks and then I should start planning my move to my new home. It is hard work to move 2 suitcases and 3 bikes:) Although the job is not 100% yet. Until I have stamp in my passport and contract in my hand nothing is 100%.

- I was supposed to do 30min easy bike ride. Original plan was to ride to Coldstone Cremery. I have "One week of free ice-cream" certificate and I started it last Sat. I originally wanted to start on Wed when I had a car for 5 days because I cannot really get there on a bike in this weather. But did not start until Saturday, which I regret because I can get pretty much ay size any flavor and Coldstone is awesome. And I had to do it now because the certificate is valid only until 14th of Dec. So I had ice-cream on Sat and Sun and then weather turned bad and I could not get there on bike. And also I do not really have time this week. But today weather is nice so I wanted to do my bike ride there. But we had a work event and I had to borrow a car to get there and the guy told em that he won't be at work when I come back so he told me to keep it till tomorrow. So I do not have to bike to ice-cream shop:) I am taking a car. I did the ride on a trainer.