Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Technique - work in progress

I have really not much to report on training front because writing “run for 30min, ITB felt great (although that’s kind of exciting to write), bike for 90min, swim with H96” gets boring. If I were doing some hard core track workouts or trying to push big watts on a bike that would be a different definitely more exciting story.

So instead I am coming up with these “technical” ramblings based on my experience. I think about it and putting it down on paper helps me to collect and nicely organize my thoughts. Although it might not always seem like that, but that’s just my pure writing abilities. All my thoughts are nicely organized in my head afterwards.

You remember how I was cursing last year during my bike rides? I was working on a nice smooth pedal strokes, engaging muscles all the way through rotation, especially pulling up and then through top and bottom of a pedal stroke. It was freaking hard! I had to concentrate all the time otherwise I would just start pushing down. And my hip flexors were never happy with me.

I have been working on that since October or so, and I think that I have made quite a progress. I do not have any tangible proof though, it is only my feeling that I am more efficient and that I pull and push through top and bottom without having to concentrate on it.

Although now I sometimes think that I do not push down hard enough. So I guess that now I should again start concentrating on my pedaling and make sure that I do all the phases of pedal stroke efficiently and correctly.

I was also working on my cadence but I do not think that I have made huge progress there. Still work in progress although I still try (which is not very difficult these days because I cannot shift to the biggest front ring so I am always on the middle ring. So that crappy bike has at least one advantage) to keep cadence higher than feels natural to me. I do not have cadence sensor or I am doing this entirely by feel.

Now to swimming. Yesterday I went to the H96 workout and we did a lot of drills (catch up, one hand, kick) and although I can swim with those guys and even go faster than some of them I cannot “drill” with them. I am so pathetically slow. I do not know why. I was also pathetically slow at CH’s workouts. Even he could not figure out why I was so freaking slow when we were doing drills since I was ok swimming. I did not mind being lapped at CH’s but here it is different because here I just joined whatever lane (well, coach told me to join them based on my looks…), I do not know people there and I feel really bad being that slow. It is not really an ego thing, I know I need to go slow if I want to do it correctly and thus I am wiser than trying to go fast and sacrifice a correct form for ego. I just do not like jeopardizing anyone’s workout if they have to go around me and they probably think what the heck is she doing here if we are lapping her in 50m pool! Move to a different lane! Ok, this is not about technique anymore so I will stop now.

I have been working on the “elbow first and forearm just handing there until it touches water” arm recovery technique that CH wanted me to do. And I think that I am getting better. I still need to concentrate on it but it is coming more naturally to me now. Before my arm recovery was as soon as my arm was out of water I lifted the forearm forward, kind of like I was already preparing for entering the water again. CH said that I was wasting a lot of energy that way and thus it was not a real recovery.

Both CH and H96 coach told me to glide more and stay on my side longer. I have not mastered that yet. I think that I am not gliding on my side at all when we swim fast. I am working on it, but it is hard, it feels like I am going to sink if I tried to glide longer. But I do my best in longer easier sets and w/up and c/d. And on days when I do my own workouts. Those days are entirely about technique. So still work in progress.

And running? It is similar to my fall biking days. I am cursing constantly! It is hard.

Basically I am trying to land under my center of gravity as opposed to kick my lower leg forward (although I think that I have been doing that only during slow runs, not when I run fast but who knows, I have not run fast forever so I cannot really tell) and as of now I think that the only way to do it is to exaggerate the whole movement. Which requires me to lift my knees quite high and it is a lot of work for my hip flexors, and I had to concentrate on it. Which is both mentally and physically draining (just like those bike rides). At first I felt like I was hopping too much, it felt like doing high knees drill and it felt very unnatural. It is much better now though. It seems that change in running technique is coming along more naturally than learning a proper biking technique because it took me only around 4 weeks for this new running technique to feel somehow natural. I do not have to think about it too much although I sometimes still try to remind myself to lift the knee and land under it. And sometimes I try to simulate my old slow runs technique and I can tell that there is a huge difference between the two! And the new one comes more naturally to me than the old one now.

I do not know whether it is perfect yet, I will try to meet with CH when I am in Slovakia next week so he can have a look and give me some pointers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(Lack of) training structure

It is always the same when I am able to run. During the periods when I cannot run I start appreciating running much more (although…if my love for running increased every time I am not able to run then in last 3 years my love would go to infinity. But my appreciation for running always (slightly:)) decreases when I can run and therefore in the long-term my appreciation and love stays leveled.) and then when I am able to run again I do not want to do anything but run run run.

By the way, those two back to back long runs (*cough* 42min runs*cough*) did not cause any damage. I took yesterday off running (I was supposed to bike but I skipped that one as well and did it today instead for not reason but pure laziness) as a precaution. I did not feel any pain but I wanted to be safe. I did a short 20min run this morning and no problem.

I have hard time finding a motivation to go biking and not go running. Not sure why, I love biking, especially now with these great roads here. But still have sometimes hard time persuading myself to bike (but once I am on a road I love it!). I think that part of it might be that stupid bike and very uncomfortable saddle and just the overall relative complexity of biking when it is compared to running.

And swimming….I lack motivation big time. I know that I need the most work to be done in that department and it is one thing that keeps me going. I think that the problem here is that I do not see any clear purpose in those workouts. Last fall, Michelle’s workouts were to prepare me for IM swim. Then in winter, CH’s workouts were…actually I am not sure what those were for either but since I was paying him to teach me how to swim and make him faster I did not think about it. He was a coach, he knew that I wanted to race Oly distance and I did what he asked me to do.

I mean, I know what those swim workouts I do now are for (Tue is longer intervals, Fr is short and Sun is loooong and easy technical work in between and each serves it purpose) but there is no bigger picture/structure behind.

Let’s say I wanted to race such and such race on such and such date, then I would have a structured plan to get me there, right? But since now I have no races on my schedule, I am just swimming with no clear purpose.

I know that I am swimming to make me more efficient and faster and that counts but even in this macro-cycle/long-term/3-year whatever plan there should be at least some structure, shouldn’t there? And I do not have that structure. I am doing WHATEVER! And that makes me quite mad and is behind my lack of motivation to drag my ass to the pool.

I do not have that structure in anything actually but I somehow feel the lack of structure only when it comes to swimming.

Running- easy. There is no structure because I am getting back to running and just building base by putting miles and miles (even doing it by 2.5mile increments counts:)).

Bike – easy. No structure but I think that I can get into decent biking shape quite easy thus I am not worried. Plus, I cannot really do any 30min max sprints or threshold intervals because I am seriously worried about the bike. You might think that I am exaggerating but I am not! It is ok for cruising around but not for real bike training. I just hope than when it breaks down that someone will give me a ride home. Thus I am telling myself that it is all about volume now and all those longish steady rides are just base building and I will be able to build on that later.

So that’s it. I like having a clear thought-over structured plan to follow. I am not complaining or anything, this is very easy to fix. But for the moment it is just something I need to endure and then when the training conditions and my life settles down a little bit I will take steps necesary to have some structure in all this.

And by the way. You know that 10k running race I was thinking about doing last weekend? I completely forgot about it:) Of course, I would not have forgotten if I was going to race it, which I was not, but as soon as I decided not to race it completely slipped out of my mind. I remembered it later than day while biking when I realized that I could have biked there to have a look. But I completely forgot about it. Which means that it was not that important for me:)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend training log


Long run. 42min :) I can some kind of artificial hill now far from my place and I has been wondering what it was. However it takes me longer to get there than I was ever willing to run so I could not get there (I could have walked of course but now we are talking running). But on Sat I did it.
I it just a very weird hill in the middle of fields with cross and some stones at the top. In Slovakia we have hills like this (they are not artificial though, but have crosses at the tops) and they are called "gallow hills". You know, they used to hang people there and it was always on hills so people could see people hanging and I guess it served to deter people from whatever they used to hang people for. But I doubt this hill here served that purpose.
I spent few minutes on the top of the hill, stretched the ITB and than walked downhill (not pushing my luck. Downhill running is the worst for my ITB) so I took around 4min rest in the middle of the run.
Knee felt good, no problem at all. I was just soooooo happy to be running outside in the sun.

Then a longish ride, 1h45min. I wanted to do 2h but I was faster than usual or something because I finished my planned route it quicker. Maybe I am getting into shape. Or I am getting energy from sun because this weekend we had the first real spring-like weather days. Loved it!

I did the same run as on Saturday again. I know that it might have been little too much but I could not constrain with such a nice weather. No ITB problem now, but we shall see tomorrow whether it was stupid or not. Let's knock on wood together.

Then the swim workout with H96. Sunday's are long swims and today it went something like this:
200 w/up
2x100 IM (hm, ok this was quite modified because I had no idea what the order of styles is:))
6x50 buoy/paddles
4x50 25 kick/25 swim
100 backstroke
4x200 tempo
800 tempo
400 tempo
200 tempo
100 tempo
200 c/d
I liked it a lot. 800 was ok, but I felt how my poor arms were getting weaker and weaker on following intervals. I think that I did pretty well though.

I just finished watching Kampf der Titanen. It was not bad, although I think that I like the old movie better. And this one ended differently. Strange, why do they change movie endings like this?

We have finally changed to summer time so my plan for next week is this. I need to write it down otherwise I will forget and not plan ahead and won't do half the things:
Mon bike
Tue swim + run
Wed bike
Th swim + run
Fr bike + swim
Sat bike + run
Sun swim

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday randomness

Day startrted pretty well. I got out of work early and was able to do a bike ride! Weather was gorgeous, sunny and quite warm. Biking here is great! So European:) By which I means there are little villages and roads connected them are smooth and wide and there are almost no cars and then there are cars the drivers are very considerate. So pretty sweat.

By the way, here is a video of me skiing in case you are interested. I am not one of those two skier at th beggining. I come later into the picture, that one person (in orange jacket if you can see that) alone on a slope. I should get a pair of those nice carving skies, which will allow me to make nice smooth turns without sliding. My father has a pair of those and they are pretty sweet.


I went to the PT guy again today. It was not as painful as last time because I have a huge bruise that goes from my mid-thigh to the knee and trying to massage that would be too sadistic. So he worked on my calf (which is also horribly tight) and on loosening up my knee cap because my rigt knee is not as flexible as my left one. That hurt though. Ouch.
And he also did some chiropractical things, among them also something with my rib cage. It was weird. He kind of like slid his fingers under my lower ribs from stomach side and was doing something. Weird. I started laughing eventually so he let it go:)

Best part it that he did not take any money today. Must be because of my blue eyes, or because I agreed with that rib cage adjustment. Juuuuust kidding. Since he did not do any serious massaging I was there only around 25min.

Unfortunately he is out of town next week and then I am on a business trip at the beginning of April (to Slovakia:) Kind of sweet, since this business trip allowes me to stay home for Easter), so I will not be able to get PT/massage for next two weeks.

Here is a picture of my bruise. Can you see it?
It does not look that big, you can see one part of it but when I removed the tape we saw that the bruise runs much higher, the tape was just covering it.
Combine this with the bruises and road rash from last week's bike crash and I look like a wife of a violent professional boxer (a very short one, because all my bruises are under my waist).

And here is the picture of my new taping.

Then I went swimming. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I went to the bathroom before jumping into pool where I realized that my monthy girly thing is starting....So I changed, packed my things and went home since I was unprepared for that. Swimming this week is not going according to my plan:(

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thinking long-term

I am a very impatient person (but who is not?) and I want to see results ASAP, better yet NOW!
But I think that I am getting wiser:) Although to be honest, it has probably nothing to do with age but rather with my ITB history.
My old me would probably try to follow some kind of crash training to prepare me for summer racing. But my present me, with some guidance and help from a very wise PPC (seriously, she is one of the smartest, nicest, realistic, and generaly very knowledgeable people I know and I am really lucky that I can ask her for training advice and she keeps me in check. And although sometimes it might seem that I have not my own opinion because I basicaly agree with everything she says, it is not that. I agree with everything she says because what she says only supports what I have been thinking myself but I was not sure), is going to keep it easy and think long-term. Solve the ITB issue is the priority numero uno and be patient and just keep logging miles and miles and putting money into bank.

For example: I went running today and my original plan was to try 50min. However, around 16min in I started to feel tingling. Although I was tempted to do 4 more minutes to round it up at 20 (not sure why, but now it sounds like some kind of obsessive disorder thingy) I kept it on a wimpy, errr, I mean safe side and did not do those 4 min. I just walked back.

I am not sure whether it was my ITB or the soreness resulting from yesterday's massage. ITB does not hurt now but when I apply pressure at it I think that I can feel it. But it seems little lower than usually so maybe it is something different. Anyway, I decided to play it on a conservative side.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fake it till you make it

I have read multiple people saying, yes I swim in a lane(or ride or whatever) with these people but they are kind of out of my league so I just hang on for my dear live and fake it till I make it.

And since I have been to one Masters swim session and 4 swim workouts with H96 team I am a swim expert now and I tell you, faking it till you make it is the worst thing a not-so-good/efficient swimmer can do.
We (not so good efficient swimmers) should learn first how to swim well and efficiently. But if we are with fast swimmers all the good technique goes out the window and we do whatever we can just to hang for a dear life and get to the other side of a pool as fast as we can. I do that and I am sure that I am not the only one!
When I want to swim nicely concentrating on my technique I need not to be in a hurry. I am not necessarily slower but I want to have the feeling that I can be slow if I need to.
Not possible if I swim with other people. And if they are faster, than it is a completele disaster. Because then you really "fake it" and although you might eventually "make it" it will probably take you longer or you just become fitter and therefore you "make it" not because you become a better swimmer.

I have been kind of doing this faking thing in those swim workouts with H96 team, and also with CH team but he at least used to stop me to tell me to swim nicely and that it was ok if someone laps me:)
Now I am ot really hanging for my dear life because they are not faster than I am but still when we do intervals I "fake it" because I am worried that maybe someone behind me wants to swim faster and then I am jeopardizing his workout. And I do not want that. Thus I rather sacrifise my workout. Not good.
Therefore I am deliberately trying to swim as a last person in a lane, then I can swim nicely and not do-whatever-just-get-to-the-other-side-asap.

OK, enough of my expert swimming advice, I better go to bed because my sister is getting married tomorrow and I need to get up in less than 5 hours. I hope they do not run late and that it lasts only 15min and than I can go back to sleep:)

PS: 40min run (ok, 39min really)+ Swim workout + 2x5min run to catch buses when I was late (that does not really count in training but in counts in my ITB chronicles)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Training log- bike and swim

Bike 2 hours (rain, bike crash, wind, the usual). Interestingly today 2hours felt so much shorter than yesterday. It is probably because yesterday I had no idea where I was going (sometimes I wish I had one of those fancy Garmin Edge something that gives you directions; because I usually just go and when a road looks cool I make a turn and then I end up somewhere and either have to retrace my steps or I am just like, ok Hannover is towards northeast so let's go into that direction and see where I end up) but today although I did not take the same route, 50% of it was the same so since I knew where I was going it felt shorter).

I am so grateful that the tri team here let's me swim with them! I have no idea what I would do if they did not let me.
Today was "longer" sets workout, total of 1.5hours. W/up 200, then some drill work, 8x100, then 100 easy, then 800, then c/down and then we worked on our wall turns because the coach said we do it patheticaly (and he is right, I admit it).

Ok, the end of today's trainin log, I am off to watch Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Azkaban.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Training with powermeter

First of all, I had another good day of training. 20min run, 2h bike, 30min run. I did not feel as beaten up on the second run today as I felt last week when I did this little brick workout. I was still really tired but it can only get better and better.
I also need to start think about fueling again because I was starving by the end of the bike ride and what that meant was that I ate a generous serving of pasta, one whole chocolate and halb the bag of Haribo gummy bears afterwards. So not the best meal ever but I was just so tired and hungry.
I went biking alone, I was too lazy to go to town to meet other people and there are still miles and miles lot of roads on my side of town I have not riden yet. Biking here is awesome. Similar to Slovakia and France. So different from MI! Empty roads, smooth surfaces, considerate drivers, dreamy. I need to take some pictures.
I can imagine leaving here. You know what would be awesome, combine German salaries, European countryside and American prices. Utopia.

Anyway, I went to that presentation about why train with powermeter. It was presented by one guy from some kind of Performance evaluation centre here in Hanover. And it was quite interesting. Of course I did not understand every single word he said but I caught most of the presentation.

He started by presenting different kinds of trainings and explained what yields what result. For example, my current bike training (biking only on Sat and Sun) yields almost no results because my fitness increases when I bike but then slowly as the week progresses and I do not do anythig I loose almost all the fitness I build on weekend. So yeah....

He was mostly concentrating on why people should use powermeters and not HR only. He was showing us different power/HR files and explaining how these two variables "behave" in different situations, and why HR can lie.
For example, when one does a training camp and trains quite hard day after day then as fatique increases HR decreases and you cannot get it up. So HR stops being a good performance measure.
The same goes for when is dehydrated or when one rides in heat.

Then he showed us different graphs what HR does when you build your power slowly (also HR increases slwoly and corresponds to the power, making this the best scenario when HR can be used as performance measurement), when you start hard from the beginning and hold it there (HR corresponds to P for the most part but if you start decreasing the power HR falls down way too much), when you start too hard and then lower the power (HR stays too high relative to P).

He also showed graphs abut what happens when you do intervals by power. Basically, not only HR lags behind but your average HR for interval increases with each interval, and therefore using HR for intervals is useless. Unless of course you know exactly how your HR responds to intervals. For example if you know that your HR increases with each intervals by 2 beats, that you cna do intervals in that way that you increase your target HR for next intervals. However, almost noone knows how exaclty her HR responds.
And of course for short intervals, using HR does not make any sense at all.

There were so much info, I think that at the moment I cannot even remember it all.

One another interesting thing he said, which I am still trying to comprehend. Lot of triathletes concenrate on run and swim in winter. Doing this they still train their heart therefore the heart is trainer. However, their biking muscles are not trained. And then when they start biking their legs fitness lag big time behing their their heart fitness. Therefore they usually see HR much lower than they normally would because they just cannot push hard enough. So spring training by HR does not give good results because HR is too low. This is what I am having hard time to comprehend. So HR is too low for your watts or perceived effort? Let's say you want to be at 180 HR, which normally you can reach at let's say 230watts, but now you need to puch 250 watts to get to 180 and so you are actually pushing harder than you should, right?
Am I understanding ti right? Not sure.

He concluded that ideal measures are HR + Power. Power is like action and HR reaction to that action.

I do not remember what other things he said. These are probably the most interesting.

You know I wanted to test that Cervelo S5 but unfortunately they did not have any Cervelos to test ride, only Looks. So I did not, I just admired it looking at it:)

Then the store owner gave me a tour of the store and told me that there are a lot of roadies riding on Sundays at 10am and told me to come. He approched me because apparently all the people there know each other and I was a new face:)

Friday, March 16, 2012

So, that’s the minimum amount of training you need to be able to race an IM

I have this hypothetical scenario.

So let’s say that a person wants to race Ironman. And I mean race, not finish it. Race does not mean to try to win my AG, it only means to…you know, race.

Let’s say that that person wanted to do IM before, then throw an Ironman retirement party and then start concentrating her energy on Oly distance. Then the person has changed the plan and decided to forget about IM and go straight to Oly dist training. Then the person even contemplates forgetting all about tris and take up chess.

However, later on the person slowly starts leaning towards doing IM, throwing an Ironman retirement party and only then starting to concentrate on Oly distance.

So the question is, is it possible for such a person in this hypothetical scenario race a decent IM? The person used to train quite hard and her swim/bike fitness was pretty good, but then all that went out the window in last 4 months. Plus the person only run like a total of 100k in last 8months. And the person only has around 3,5 months to get ready for an IM.

Of course the person can always start training and then the day before the race asses whether she feels prepared enough and then decide whether she is going to race or not.

Now you have all the important details of this hypothetical scenario. What do you think? Is there something like an IM crash training program? Is this the stupidest (theoretical) idea you have ever read? Or the bravest?

Btw, I am going for a 40min run (!) followed by a swim workout. In shorts! I have not run in shorts since the beginning of September! Not because I am a weather wimp or live I Siberia, it is mostly because I was not able to run whether it was in shorts or long pants. But today the starts have aligned right- I am able to run and we have 10+ degree sunny weather.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting into a routine

I might be slowly finding my routine. It is not "finalized" yet but better than before. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it seems that by the time I get into a set-in-a-stone routine I will be out of here and will have to start a new quest.
It is not yet decided whether it's good or bad since I am hoping to get work visa soon and go to the US, and that would be fortunate. But trying to find a routine will be unfortunate.

This is my plan for now:
M run
T run + swim (wkout)
W swim
Th swim
F run + swim (wkout)
Sat run + bike + run
Sun bike + swim (wkout)

Or something like that.
I will add more biking to the mix after the daylight savings time change.

I did a swim workout today after work. I went to that pool for seniors and it was not that bad actually. I spend almost 1 hour working on gliding and looser arm recovery. I think that I am getting better with my right arm, not that great with the left arm.

Lot of work ahead of me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Race or not to race...

There is a 10k race next weekend in a nearby city and I am considering doing it.
Not that I am itching to race because I do not like racing that much (especially when I am not in tip-top shape) but I am interested to see what I can do. I hate doing "fun races", definition of a fun race being a race when you are not trying to win/PR/beat someone, but I will do an exception this time:)

However, I cannot decide whether this race will hurt me more physically or psychically.
Will I get over 43min 10k? AND/OR Will my ITB survive it?
I do not know. ITB seems to be a higher risk, I get over bad races quite fast. And in this case I even have several very valid excuses, like for example running a total of 60k since last September and not even biking or swimming properly in last 2.5 months, so I cannot even count on the general fitness since I lack that one too. So yes, I will get over that 10k fast.

Ok, maybe I am itching to race a little bit:) Last time I did a running race was in Jan last year so of course I would like to run a race!

Plus this race starts at 12:30pm (not like crazy US races that start at 7am) and it costs 6Eur (not like crazy US races that cost 30USD). Plus all participants have free entry to a nearby swimming pool:)

Basically, I am in "mentaly". Physically, I shall see how ITB holds on in next few days. I ran 20min yesterday and 30min today and so far so good.

I am 100% positive that now that I said it out loud my ITB will start protesting! Just wait till tomorrow. Stupid ITB. It is like it had it own brain! And it is always "playing" against me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swim workout with Hannover 96 Tri Club

I figured that I should really do something because 1, I spend all my free time alone and 2, my training has been more pathetic than ever. So combine the two!

I have mentioned that I have contacted a swim coach for Hannover Triathlon team and he invited me to come to his swim workout today.

You see. I once went to masters swim when I was in LA and I did not like it very much. Probably because back then I had no idea what I was doing. For example the coach said do “two seventy five”, which I interpreted in my little brain as 2x75, which in fact it was 275. Some of it was “don’t understand this swimmers’ slang” related, some was “poor English understanding” related. But then I went to CH’s swim practices and at first I had to ask him half the time what I was supposed to do because I had no idea what he was talking about. That one completely “poor Slovak understanding” related because by then I pretty much understand very well what I am supposed to do it the pool:)

But you can just imagine what I was doing in that pool today:)

Ok, It was not that bad. One girl explained how it works to me. The coach assigned me to a lane (solely on my appearance because there was no other matrix to do it:)) and off we went.
It was 50m pool and we were 6 or 7 in my lane, not sure.
It was not as bad as I expected it to be, I mean langugae-wise. Sure sometimes I had no idea what I was supposed to do. At the beginning the coach said that kick with one leg. What, kick with one leg? Never heard of that. That must be my "poor German understanding" related and she probably said kick with both legs. So I did my regular kicking. Turns out that we were indeed supposed to kick with one leg.
Then I was ok for the main set but I got lost again when people were doing something with fins. We were doing 200s but I did not understand how many of them. But I did not care and thus did not ask because I did not have fins anyway so I just did as many as I could before the others stopped.
I did 100w/up, 2x200 kick, 8x150 with buoy (4 w/ paddle, 4 w/out) descent 1-3, then around 500 doing whatever (that's when the other were using fins), 100 c/d.

It was a pretty good workout although I was little all over the place, but it was very similar to that masters' swim I had gone to. Just swimming with no real coaching/technique corrections. whereas CH yelled at each and everyone of us to tell us what we do wrong and he corrects our technique.
But I guess one cannon really do something like that when you have 30+ people in a pool like we had today.

The coach told me that since it is only for 2 months that I can just come without paying any membership fees or anything. 3 swims/week for free? SURE. The best deal ever! And hopefully in few sessions I will understand everything they want from me:)
I will work on my technique on my own in one of those crowded bathing pools.

They also have bike rides over weekends (they also do them on weekdays but I cannot do those) so I will probably join them on Saturday morning. At least I will explore the bike routes little bit more.

On Saturday I am also going to the 20th anniversary party of a local bike shop. I have found about it online and I am not sure what I will do there but a guy from some kind of sport performance diagnostic centre in Hannover is going to give a speech about power-based training. That should be interesting. Well, unless I do not understand half the things he will say, which honestly might be a case. But maybe I will learn new vocabulary (for example I have learn today how you say fins, but I have already forgotten. Starts with "s" though").

And if nothing else, I hope I get to test ride this baby.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I did one. Of course, it was not a competition, it was self-organised training run-bike-run:) And my transitions were longer than they should be, they consisted of foam rolling, drink, change of cloths.

It seems that threatening my ITB with MRI and surgery scared it because I have ran 3 days in a row and so far so good. Interesting, last week this time it did not feel that hot and now it feels allright. I guess that I should not be running this often but I am GREEDY!
I think that doing two short runs a day is the best way to increase my running mileage. There is not that much strain on my ITB.

So today I ran 30min, then I did 2h bike ride and then 20min run. That last run did feel kind of horrible, at least the last 10min. My calves felt kind of strange and I was not sure whether ITB will survive it because it felt as if something was pulling on my knee from calf. I actually cut that run short, by like 30sec. But ITB still feels good so it was probably just a fluke.
I guess that is what happens to you when you are totally out of running shape. Oh well. I have around two months to get in shape because there is sprint duathlon in Slovakia at the beginning of May and I should be there then so maybe I can do it. But it is so far ahead that million things can happen to me by then.

(But I am still looking into getting that MRI. Health insurance should pay for it but I need referal from an orthopedist. I have found one orthopdist klinik that can take me after work but the earliest available date is May 3. Too late for me:))

Bike ride was fun. Seems that my body getting used to that stupid bike because neither my bottom parts nor my neck and upper back hurt today.
Hannover is a horse and potatoe farm land. Seriously. There are horse farms everywhere, one is only 4min run from my house and I meet at least 2 horseback riders every run. I have seem only one Kartoffel Verkauf farm but I am sure there is more of them.

I am tired. What one short bike ride and two short runs can do to me!?!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I am talking about the rapacious desire to have more more more MORE MORE MORE.
Yeap, I am greedy, I desire more.

I ran 20min yesterday and it was the best thing ever. But I wanted more. So I did 30min today. But it is still not enough for me.
I am thinking maybe I should try a double one of these days.

I think that there might be something into that correct running technique. You see, I probably had had a good technique. But then when I started to have these ITB problems I changed my technique in order to "land lightly". Which tured out to be that I land on my toes and do not touch the ground with heel or mid-foot at all.
CH told me to land little bit more "under me", on my front foot of course but roll more to my heel. I should be touching heel to the ground.

Come to think about it, since I am always only on my toes than my knee (or ITB) must work more to stabilize my leg than it would have to if I was more on the whole foot, right? Makes sense, does not it?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Anyone knows how to get MRI in Germany?

I have decided that I am going to get an MRI.

I really think that this might not be a simple ITB issue. Maybe MRI will tell me something that will help me to fix the problem.
Maybe it is something that can be fixed with a simple surgery. Who knows?

And although I am not a really serious athlete (although I am still thinking about 2016)PPC is right. She said that if running makes me happy then I should seek the most advanced treatments to get it fixed. And I have many many years ahead of me when I could be running.

Although I should have probably pursue this when I was in Slovakia. I was bored and I could have had everything figured out. But since my ITB did not hurt back then, what was I supposed to do? Go to a doctor and tell him that although my knee has not hurt for few months I still need an MRI? That would be stupid I think.
So now I am in Germany and have no free time/vacation days and no idea how/where to get MRI. Although, I have no idea how to do it in Slovakia either but at least there I spoke the language flawlessly and I could have asked. Whereas it is not that easy here. Although I know that MRI is called MRT here:)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

20 min run and "complain of the day"

Nothing special or interesting. This is mostly for running log purposed although I have a feeling that I will never get to actually start one. But one never knows.

ITB feels ok even now aftrwards. We shall see whether it does not flare up overnight.

I have been to Hannover for a week now. Time flies, does not it? So far I have learnt how to write @ on German keybord, that Hannoverians do not look right or left when crossing a street and that I speak like an idiot. Interestingly I know that I speak like an idiot, or rather soon after I say something I realize that I said something totally grammatically idiotic, but hey, people understand me and I do not care what they think.
Or maybe it is not that interesting because I knew the same thing was happening when I came to the US and then to France. (I still talk like an idiot in both English and French, just not that often:))

And dang! I was hoping that Bayern Munchen will come play to Hannover while I am here but no. Hannover goes to Munich. I love Bayern Munchen! Not that I am a huge soccer fun but a lot of years ago I read an article about how Ottmar Hitzfeld (former coach) changed their game tactics and it was all explained there and I have been fascinated by BM ever since. (I was also fascinated by Oliver Kahn, former goalkeeper, not sure why thought. His blond hair I guess.). Although I got little less enthusiastic after I watched 1999 Champions League finals (OMG, it has been 13 yeras!!!)on TV and those idiots lost 2-1 to Manchester United who scored 2 goals in last 2 minutes of injury time! I almost cried, they broke my heart and I got mad at them. Anyway, seems that the only way I might ever see BM play is watching those Champions League broadcasts. Or I can travel to Munich, which of course I will not do.

And another complain: what?!? Daylight saving time change is on March 25? Why so late. I need it NOW so I can do something training related after work! You lucky Americans.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Swim and almost run

I decided that I will try the 4th time! 4th time a charm, right? Of course not.

I was hoping that when I go to the pool in the early morning only swimmers will be there. And sure enough, there were swimmers only (otherwise there are kids, non-swimmers, non-swimmer kids etc all in total chaos) but the average age in this pool was 70+.

Ok, it was not as bad as other pools I went to so I stopped being a wuss about it and I went in.
Of course there are no lane dividers and there is no way I can do intervals because I might kill someone (unless I am thrown out first) but I wanted to do easy swim concentrating on my technique anyway. Mission accomplished.

I brushed my hair while running to catch a bus to work. I also put on face lotion (still running) and ate my breakfast in the bus. I was indeed very representative in work today.

But then I pulled the trigger and contacted a swim coach from the local tri club. I don't want to join them because it is too expensive but I would like to do their swim practices with them. He told me to come to his practice next Tuesday but whether I can join them for just swims without being a member does not depend on him so we will talk to responsable person on Tuesday and see.
They seem to be quite decent. They have different coaches for each sport, a lot of training opportunities and I think that one of their female members holds IM Austria record.
Anyway, I will see next Tuesday whether I can join them. It would be great, because the only option to be able to do swim workouts in Europe is to join a team that has a whole pool for themselves.

I also had the best intentions to go running tonight but I came home after 8pm (and I am not going to run on a road and there is light nowhere else). Hm, life of a working person is hard....

Today I have figured out what I would like to be when I grow up. I want to be a wife of a German engineer. (Actually I have figured that this would be a perfect "job" ages ago) But not any German engineer. One of those that are expartiated (that might be a made-up word) to let's say the US. He will earn a shitload of money and of course I will not be allowed to work (because expats' spouses are not) so I will have to be a good German wife taking care of household and kids. But since I probably won't have any kids I will do whatever I want to do. Like for example train like a pro (assuming my ITB gets better).
I better start making frequent visits to our R&D center....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Problem? Adjust! Such a BS!

I am slowly but certainly losing it.

My ITB hurts (and I am starting to think that it will never stop), I do not like my new coach (or rather what he makes me do, or better what he does not make me do) very much, I cannot find a pool where I can swim (I already went to two different pools at three different times and everytime I turned on my heel and walked back home), my bike is a piece of garbage (too big for me, the bottom bracket makes horrible noises and rear wheel goes left ad right as if it was not even fastened to the frame and I am expecting it to fall apart any moment, I just hope I will be within walking distance to my place).

I know. Stop whining and do something about it! But WHAT????
Yes, I am going to keep looking for a pool, I am going to continue biking until I kill myself in a fall, I will part ways with CH.
But what am I supposed to do with that ITB? I know that I have not tried everything yet. I have not got MRI to see whether there is something wrong with soft tissues(because RTG looks good, no problem), I can have bursa removed surgically etc. But I do not think that I am serious enough athlete to have a surgery to fix it.

But you know what? I am starting to think that I should just bag this triathlon idea.
I am not at that point when you stop caring whether you complete a workout or not. I care. I care a lot. And since last 2 months were a complete disaster (and actually last year was a complete disaster running-wise) and it seems that it will continue being a disaster for at least next 2-3 months it is just making me frustrated.
Plus you cannot do triathlon without running, can you? So what's the point? I cannot run,I cannot train. And why the hell am I stressing myself? I do not need that? I honestly think that that ITB problem will never go away. Well, maybe it will, in a year or two. But I do not want to wait for years. I do not like thinking long-time.

My life would be so much easier if I did not have to stress every single day that once again I am not able to get a run in, a swim in, a decent bike workout in. I just do not know how to do it without putting my whole myself into it, without commitment, without getting better and better, without decent results.

I also do not like what I am doing this year. I had a blast last year with bike/swim (and run when I was able to run). So far this year, not so much. It seems that nothing has structure, that I do not have anything (races, times etc) to shoot for, I have no paces/watts/HR to train by. Last year at least swim/bike has structure, but now everything seems very random. I know that it is not all CH's fault, at the moment this stupid pool and bike situation are behind it.

I realize that this does not make much sense, I tend to ramble and ramble and I have long ago lost the thread in this post.
So to summarize, I hate my training right not, and I do not think that I will be able to train properly in a near future because of my ITB. And it makes me super frustrated and stressed:(

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Training in Hannover

I promised a training update, didn't I?
Last time I did something training realted was last Saturday. Geez, I hate that.

I was originally worried about how training will go here but it turns out it is not that bad.
Of course I still do not have a routine, which I hate hate hate! I love having my training routine. Scratch that. I need to have a training routine! Otherwise I am one huge slacker:(

I went to a pool yesterday. I walked in, looked at the pool, turned on my wheel and walked out. I was not at the pool deck of course, only in the hall. There were way too many people. I think that the problem was that I went there directly from work. Maybe if I went some othe time it would be better. But maybe not, I do not know. There are quite a few pools here but everything is kind of far from me, so I need to go there on my way to work or from work. There is one pool not far from my work so I am going to try going there before work on Tuesday (pool is closed on Monday). Which means that I need to get up at 5am. Blaaah. I need to toughten up, I became a sissy since my high school years:)
If that does not work out, I am going to try one pool each day and see whether I find something where I can actually swim.
Oh I miss my Michigan pool!!!!!!!!!!!! But I do not miss biking and running in MI.

Hannover is a great city for biking. There are bike lanes everywhere. In Paris there are bike lanes too but you share with cars, whereas in Hannover you share with pedestrians so it seems safer. But of course I do not use those lanes in the city.
I live at the border of the city so it was very easy to get out of the city into "countryside".
I was out for 1h20min and I have not even touched a road! There are bike paths outside the city as well! How awesome. They go in every direction, it will take me weeks to explore everything.
I met few guys on road bikes and one guy on a tri bike as well. Those paths are very good, you can definitely go fast. But of course sometime you cross a road or go through a town (there are lanes as well but they are paved with those squares/rectangles so they are not as great as paths outside cities).
So I should be able to get in good biking. The only problem is that I come from work at around 6pm and it is already dark so I cannot really bike on work days....

And running! I did 30min today, ITB was good, although I felt it a bit afterwards. Anyway, there is miles and miles of trails 4min fo running from my doors. There are fields right outside my house and these fields are separated by trails/roads/horse trails. So it is soft and perfect for running. I met few runners but mostly people walking dogs.

Once I figure out my pool situation and once it is enough light outside at least until 7pm then I should be able to put it some good training hours in.
Or maybe I should get a light and I can ride my bike even in the evenings. I need to think about it more. I am not sure whether it is safe enough.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello from Hannover! or "travelling foam roller"

Interesting, it seems that English-speaking countries spell Hannover with one "n" whereas in Germany they spell it with "nn". Although on the send thought it is not that interesting, there are a lot of cities that are spelled differently in different languages.

Anyway, I am still alive. I just did not have internet. Now I have one, paying 40Eur/month for it. Oh well, I cannot function without it.

Training-wise I have not done anyhthing this week. Bike is still in the box (and even if it was not I would not be able to use it because I had to do a million things in last 2 days and it is dark when I come from work anyway), I could not go swimming because I did not know where since I cannot google swiming pools addresses online and running...I might go run tomorrow.

Hannover is ok, although, sure the guy in the "internet store" and the lady in a town hall had to repeat everything twice for me because I did not understand the first time but so far so good:) Although I cannot find how to write @ using German keyboard.

Since I started this blog 2 years or so ago I have lived in France, then Michigan, then California, 1 month in Slovakia, then Michigan, then 2 months agai in Slovakia and now I am in Germany. And I brough my foam roller when I was in Michigan the first time, then I carried it with me to Cali, then to Slovakia for a month, then back to Michigan, then it was with me in Slovakia last 2 months and now it is in Hannover. What an interesting life that foam roller leads, don't you think?:)

But you know what? I was really looking forward to coming here and I am happy to be here, but when I woke up on Wednesday morning before going to the airport I really did not want to go. All I wanted was to stay at home with my mommy and daddy and my grandparents who would take care of me and where I will have someone close.

I hope to be back soon with a training update where I will write that I actually did something.