Category Archives: swimming

Challenging Myself

This weekend I wanted to challenge myself. No, I didn’t get out for an epic long run (still working on get going again…starting from square 1). But since I have really been missing the heart pumping that comes with those runs, I wanted to find some other ways to get in a tough workout. So I ended up with a long trainer ride on Saturday, and a hard swim in Sunday.

Saturday morning I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes on my spin bike (I knooow, crazy!). I started before the sun came up, and passed the time by watching a movie (Life of Pi… hadn’t seen it yet). I definitely think having an interesting movie helped pass the time!! Especially one I hadn’t watched before. I kept the resistance at a moderate level, but included a couple long standing intervals at a little higher level. To be honest, I didn’t think this was too bad, maybe because I was mentally prepared for a long time on the bike. I ate a few Clif bloks and finished off 1.5 bottles of water over the time period, then followed the ride up with a tall glass of Lemon Tea Nuun.

Sunday’s swim was also tough! Sure, I have done several 2500-3000 yard swims, but mostly they have just been swimming comfortably while completing the distance. This weekend, I tried my first practice of swim intervals. Let me tell you… trying to swim faster is HARD! My right shoulder tends to feel tired earlier than the left, and this was no exception. It was pretty tired by half way through! But, I dug deep and finished the sets.

If you’re interested, here was my workout. I had printed it out, and put it in a ziplock bag to put next to the pool. That way it would stay readable even if it got wet.

image (68)

4 x 50 yds very easy warm-up with 10 sec rest
800 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds harder with 15 sec rest
600 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds with 10 sec rest
400 yds at AP
4 x 50 yds with 5 sec rest
100 yds very easy, cool down
TOTAL = 2700 yds
*note: AP (aerobic pace) is somewhere between moderate and maximum speed. You can keep it for a long time without getting tired. As you gain more conditioning, AP will also improve.

In the afternoon, Ryan and I also did a bonus workout! We did this full body workout from Runner’s World, and a few extra minutes of core/ab exercises. It was just something nice to do in the afternoon while the football games were on since we didn’t have to worry about getting ready for work — we both had the day off yesterday for MLK Day.

Please, help me out!
I entered to win an entry into the ZOOMA Napa half marathon. I’ve always wanted to run in Napa, and I’d love to race this for my goal of a sub- 1:45 half marathon. As a bonus, they’ll be giving the winner a second entry for a lucky blog reader (maybe YOU?!)! So, take a second and vote for me here, and you may be able to join me on an amazing adventure! You can vote once per day. Thank you in advance!

How have you challenged yourself recently?

Hitting the Pool & Core Values

Lately I have been having some issues with my left leg. I’ve taken a few weeks off of running –my last run was on 12/18. I’m not sure if it’s a hip, IT band, hamstring or quad problem — the pain seems to sort of move around, but mostly is sore near my knee (inside) and hip (outside).

Probably the most frustrating part is that I’m not really certain the cause. I’m buckling down this week with a focus on foam rolling some knots out, and hip strengthening. If it’s not feeling much better soon, I think it will be time to head to a physical therapist.

So, in the time I’ve taken off from running, training has been mostly swimming and weights, with a little cycling and yoga thrown into the mix. On the plus side, over the holiday break visiting my parent’s house in upstate NY, I swam my longest swim ever — 3150 meters!

{such a pretty pool! and so big, we swam the width instead of the length!}

Because of this, it’s made it feel hard to plan my next goal race since my motivation to train isn’t there (well, it is there, but I just can’t get out and run!). But, I’m trying to keep positive that I’ll be back at it soon!

At the moment, the next race on my list for this year is Ragnar FL Keys on February 7-8. I’m so excited for this adventure, and I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m back in action by then.

Otherwise, I’m also joining in on the #corevalues 30 day core challenge by Healthy Strides. I figure working on my core can’t be a bad thing! 5 minutes a day for the month of January. Maybe by the end of the month it’ll stick to being a good habit I continue.

What’s your favorite core exercise?

OBX Training Week 5: Avoiding Injury!

First the bad news: last Tuesday during my speed workout, I strained my calf muscle. On the good side though, I spent the rest of the week resting and stretching it and was still able to complete my sprint triathlon on Saturday (a full recap is coming soon!). The extra good news is participating in the triathlon did not make it any worse. With that, here’s details on the week!

Monday: swam 1600 yds.

Tuesday: Attempted workout of 3 x 1 mi, aiming for 7:20 pace.

I felt good during my warmup and first mile repeat. Then during the second, my calf got super tight and painful. I stopped to stretch two separate times during the next mile interval. I ended up cutting off the workout because my calf and knee were not feeling good and I really didn’t want to injure myself seriously. I was so angry and frustrated!

Maybe I have been pushing too much the last few weeks — I did have a few hints at my calves being tight both in week 4’s intervals, and a comment from the salesman when I was shoe shopping. So, maybe this workout was just the last straw.

I did a bunch of stretching, massaging, elevating, and took my first ever ice bath.

Wednesday: My calf feeling a bit better, but I took the day off completely. Some of our good friends are moving, so I helped pack up some things, and did a decent amount of walking. That seemed to help loosen up the muscle more too. Along with lots more rolling, stretching, legs up the wall of course!

Thursday: swim 1750 yds. Leg felt even better on Thursday, so I swam in the afternoon. I didn’t notice any affect on my calf while swimming. After I came home I did some core and hip strengthening work. I was actually feeling a little more confident about being able to run on Saturday.

Friday: took another rest day in preparation for Saturday’s triathlon.

Saturday: Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon. (0.5 mi swim, 16 mi bike, 3 mi run)

A recap is coming, but my leg felt pretty good. I also PR’ed in the distance by a little over 2 minutes!

Sunday: Initially wanted to get in a 12 mile long run for marathon training. But I was a little nervous about my legs being tired from the triathlon on Saturday, and aggrivating the calf, so I ended up making it 8 miles, at a fairly easy pace instead. I thought about cutting this run short because I felt tight early on (but no pain!), but once I warmed up I didn’t have any issues.

My upcoming goals are to keep taking it easy on running and making sure I keep healing and feeling good. I have an olympic distance triathlon (my first!) coming up on Sunday 8/11 which I would like to still run if I can. However, my main goal of this month is to stay healthy for Hood to Coast. It is only a few weeks away, and I want to make sure I can do my best!

Have you ever gotten injured right before a race? 
How do you deal with changes to your training plan?

A Tough Week: OBX Training Week 3

This week felt tough! I don’t know if it was because of a busy work week, or just the workouts starting to tire out my legs, but I’m already starting to really feel like I’m in the middle of marathon training. This is not saying it was a bad week by any means, just a lot going on!

I mentioned before that I am nearing the end of my PhD work, so this summer I am really trying to buckle down and finish the darn thing! This week was the first in a while where I really had time to work for the entire week (all that traveling was getting in the way!). It was great to feel accomplished on that front, but it was a good reminder of how exhausting work can be sometimes!

This week I also had a physical, where I got a Tdap vaccination. Man, do those things really make you feel like you got slugged in the arm! I got the shot on Tuesday morning, and on Wednesday I could barely raise my arm. By Friday it was feeling mostly back to normal… with just a little sensitivity at the injection site.

Onto the workouts…

Monday: P90x chest & back. Lots of pushups & pullups. I was sore from this for a few days too!

Tuesday: Intervals. Didn’t get in the workout in the morning, so went to the gym for treadmill miles this week in the evening. Intervals were: 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 with 200 rest between each.

I had never done this type of workout before, and it was really awesome. I felt really strong and hit all my paces without a problem! Ran for 5.25 total miles.

{post run stretch. yep, there was a lot of sweating happening}

Wednesday: P90x legs. Arm was SO sore, so avoided adding in some back exercises.

Thursday: Again, no AM workout. Hot in the afternoon, but went with a few miles outside including 1.75 miles at almost tempo pace. The heat really got to me, and I had trouble pushing for those last 15 sec/mi. Total of 5 miles.

Friday: rest! Glorious rest!

Saturday: 13 mi long run. Proud of ourselves for getting up and out to the trail by 7AM… usually we are running a little later than that. High temp today was supposed to be 100 degrees, so we wanted to get out early. I had to run in the dirt the last 3 miles so I didn’t get run over by bikers from a local triathlon. It made for a tough finish, but it was fun to get a free cheer squad and watch the bikers zoom by.

Sunday: open water swim. Finally got the chance to try out my wetsuit! Ryan and I both got wetsuits for Christmas from my parents, but we hadn’t taken them out for a test swim yet. The water temperature was actually pretty warm, so they weren’t needed, but we were glad to try them out. I had been a little nervous about fit, but it worked great. The swim was a little tough — I think mostly from staying out late Saturday night, but we had a fun time. Total swim was probably about 0.75 miles.

 {The water levels were really low. Lots of people out at the lake though.}

Have you had the Tdap vaccine? How long did your arm hurt?
What was the best part of your weekend? Mine was hanging out with our good friends Saturday night. Good food, good wine, outdoor games. Lots of fun!

Dead Legs

Oh my gosh…my legs are seriously sore this morning!

This weekend we spent a lot of time exercising. So it’s no wonder that I’m feeling like I have dead legs.

On Friday, Ryan and I did our usual P90x legs and back day. This one never feels any more difficult while it is going on, but always makes me so sore the next day!! I guess that means it must be doing something.

Saturday we headed to the pool for a swim. I managed to complete 2000yds. It felt harder than last week, but I actually don’t think my time was much different. I am really enjoying swimming lately. It’s a nice way to get a good workout without putting to much force on the legs.

Then, Sunday I did a short run in the morning (4.5 miles) followed by a 38 mile bike ride with Ryan and our friend Josh. First bike ride of 2013! It was a beautiful day for a ride–about 55 degrees. We had some wind though, so by the end of the ride we were pretty exhausted!

As a fun perk though we stopped in at a new brewery that was ing the route to do a beer sampler and enjoy some more time in the sun. By the way, if anyone is out in Northern California, I would definitely recommend checking out Berryessa Brewing Company. They even had some people playing music.

Needless to say, after all of that my legs were feeling pretty sluggish on my morning ride in. Haha! I bet they will loosen up throughout the day though.

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Hip Strengthening?

Out here in Northern California, the winter time weather is usually high’s in the mid- to high 50’s and lows around the mid 30s. So, this past week when every night was down to about 25 degrees, it made me want to just snuggle under the covers as long as possible.

wasn’t actually snowing — just lots of frost on the ground

Despite the freezing temperatures, the sun made my Sunday morning run bearable. I finished 10 miles with an average pace of 9:20 — sped up the second half for a nice negative split.

Besides running on Sunday, I also fit in a swim on Saturday morning. I’m really trying to start working on my swimming so I can do another triathlon or two this summer. This week I felt stronger than last week, even though I was exhausted by the end. I think after a couple weeks my shoulders will be much more comfortable.

Outside of the workouts, my weekend was full of other fun things like a date night on Friday night with my main man, and a wine tasting with some friends on Saturday. Sunday we spent the day watching football and eating homemade chicken wings. I used this recipe, and it was amazing. Highly recommend if you are looking for a tasty fried treat.

Sorry for the randomness of this post! But, I do have a running related question. Anyone have some good exercise recommendations for exercises glute / hip weakness? I think I’m dealing with something like that right now on my right side. I’d love some ideas if you have any!

Getting Back in the Groove

This weekend, I decided to get back on the endurance exercise track with a nice swim at the pool and a long run. It has been a while since I have done either of those things — especially the swimming!

On Saturday, Ryan and I went to the pool. We go to 24-Hour Fitness — there are quite a few locations near our house, so we decide where we want to go depending on what activity we are doing. One of them has a nicer pool than some of the others. I swam 1250 yards — not too bad for the first day back to swimming in almost 8 months! By the end my right shoulder was particularly cranky….definitely need to slowly work back up in the swim distance.


Did I ever tell you guys about my shoulder surgery a few years ago? I know I’ve told you about my knees, but I couldn’t remember about the shoulder….

Basically, from 2006-2008 I played a lot of ultimate frisbee (played all through college in Delaware and at Minnesota) and the repeated motion of throwing ended up causing a tear in the labrum of my shoulder and my ligaments to be kind of loose. I kept sort of dislocating it. Eventually in Fall 2007 it was really bothering me a lot and I had surgery. I had to wear a big sling and couldn’t use my arm or hand for 8 weeks! Being my dominant hand it was so difficult. I had to teach myself how to write left handed….when I graded papers it was particularly hilarious!

yeah — the sling was huge! i wore it 100% of the time. 

So, sometimes my shoulder bugs me for a little while — especially if I’m doing some sort of new exercise or working on really hard. But if I take it easy or lighten my weights for a workout or two, it is usually back on track in no time. I’m sure after a couple more swims, it won’t get tired as quickly.

Now back to the weekend exercise — Sunday I did my first long run since my marathon back in early December! Let me tell you, it was TOUGH. I went 8 miles at a 8:52/mi average pace. I let myself take it a little easier for the last mile because my legs were crying. It didn’t help that I did a leg workout on Friday evening at the gym and my muscles were feeling tired and sore, or that I went at a pace that is pretty speedy compared to my marathon training. I’m really glad I fit in a run this weekend though — it was a good start to my spring half marathon training.

Hopefully a few more outings in both the swimming and running categories will get me back in the groove.

Anyone else do a long run this weekend?
How long does it take you to get back in the exercise groove after a long break? For me, I think it is usually at least a week or two. I’m always excited to work out, but it just takes a little while sometimes for it to feel fluid.