Monday, March 25, 2013

Tri Training Diary: 3/18 to 3/24 (Week 2)

This was one of those weeks when Real Life got in the way of triathlon.  I’d hoped to put in 140+ pts this week, but between a now-nagging knee injury, the need to do our taxes, and a bunch of family stuff, it just didn’t happen.  In fact, by mid-afternoon Saturday, I got the distinct impression that Sally had sort of had enough of this triathlon crap.  She looked ready to trade in the whole thing for a little piece of mind and a couple of boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

I swam three times this week, and that’s cheating.  It’s cheating because I had a certain minimum number of aerobic points I wanted to get, and getting them in the water is by far the easiest, fastest way for me to make it happen.  But sometimes that’s life.  Besides which, swimming at least didn’t hurt my knee.
Anyway, I put in 2000 yards on Wednesday night at Tri Club practice, but I honestly cannot remember how that broke down.  I also worked with Letty, one of our club members, on her stroke, and that was pretty satisfying.  When she joined the club last year, she struggled to finish a single length of the pool.  A year later--and after many, many laps of catch-up stroke--she’s finished a handful of Sprint distance races, including several in open water, and her stroke now looks long and comfortable.  Wednesday night in particular was by far the best I have ever seen her look in the water, to the point where I had her start taking her times per 50, so that I can design some interval work for her later this week.  That may well have been the highlight of my training week.
Saturday morning, I came in before practice and swam again.  That one I wrote down:
  1. 5 x 100 @ 1:30 warm-up
  2. 8 x 200 @ 2:50 aerobic (holding 1:15/100)
  3. 150 warm down
I took my heart rate at the end of that set of 200s, and I was right at 150 bpm.  That’s not bad.
And then there was Sunday.  I would have been better served to ride or run, I know, but I just did not have time to get out the bike and all my gear, and after having run twice in the week already, I didn’t want to push my knee by trying to run on it again.  So...
  1. 4 x 100 @ 1:30 warm-up
  2. 1000 yard timer (12:45, or 1:16.5/100)
  3. 200 kick (fly)
  4. 100 drill (catch up with fingertip drag)
  5. 400 x 100 @ 1:30 mid-tempo (holding 1:10/100)
  6. 50 warm down
The only thing I’ll say about that is that I clearly need to start putting in some longer distances in the water as part of my main sets.  For that 1000 yard timer, I was 1:10 for the first 100, and then I held 1:15/100 for the next 500, but then I fell off the pace.  That’s obviously not the right way to do it.  Granted, I only lost :15 total off the pace I was trying to hold, but it’s the principle of the thing.  You want to negative split and come out feeling good, not drop the hammer early, poop out, and come out like a wrung sponge.  Yuck!
Swim Total: 3 x swim workouts (2000, 2250, 2150); 64 pts.
The weather in NYC and Connecticut has been crap.  All winter long.  I know I shouldn’t make that an excuse, but still.  I’m just sayin’...
Anyway, I rode my commute twice this week, and that’s it.  The first time was Wednesday, and that’s when my knee flared up.  I’d run the day before and then riding in the cold through Central Park the next morning was just not the plan.  The Long Hill did me in.
I rode again on Friday, the only other day all week with decent weather, and the knee was okay.  I made sure to stretch it really well on the train before I got out and unfolded my bike, and I took it easy, but the point is, I rode, and I didn’t feel like screaming.  There’s something to be said for that.
Cycling Total: 2 x commute ride (22 miles); 22 pts.  Argh.
This was supposed to be a run-focused week.  What I really wanted to do was run three times for a total of about 15 miles, but between the knee thing and our week/weekend family schedule, I’m tellin’ ya, sometimes you can’t get what you want, but if you try real hard, you can get what you need.  That’s what it felt like, anyway.
I usually run on Tuesdays at lunch, and I did that this past week as well, putting in a touch over 5 miles.  My knee had been a little twitchy since my long ride on Saturday the week before with my friend Ben, but I didn’t think much of it, and it wasn’t like the knee hurt on Tuesday or anything.  It was touchy, but I stretched it, and it felt like it responded okay.  So I ran my five--in freezing rain--and I took it easy.  That was fine.  
But then the knee flared up Wednesday like I said, and I got concerned.  So I decided not to try to run Thursday or Friday, which turned out to be convenient because I wouldn’t have been able to go run again anyway what with Sally’s schedule and the kids and all the rest of it.  That still left Tri Club practice on Saturday, however, and I’d planned a long run for the Club.  Uh-oh.  
I got out my brace, got some sleep, and made sure I had plenty of time stretch beforehand.  What else can you do?
We had a pretty good turnout Saturday morning.  Ben and Letty were there, Steve brought his son in a jogging stroller, and we had a new recruit in Jeremy.  I was psyched.  The plan was to run the Y-Tri run course together easy and then break up, and whoever wanted to keep going could put it another five miles or so, for a total of seven.  In the event, we didn’t make it long as a group, but that was okay.  I made it a mile or so with Ben and Jeremy before my knee started hurting, so I walked and stretched, and I was bummed.  When Steve caught up, I tried to pace him and the stroller but even that was pushing it, so I turned around and trotted back to Letty, and we ran together for the next mile or so.  That was good because Letty was rolling along at an easy 10:00/mile pace, and that I could do.  In fact, that slow warm-up was pretty much exactly what I needed.
I eventually realized that I could run on the knee; what I couldn’t do was push.  At all.  I could trot, I could Airborne Shuffle, all day.  But I couldn’t go fast.  It was like having a heart rate monitor on my knee, and every time I got my heart rate up over about 145 or 150, it went off and told me to slow down.  
So I ran really slow.  But I ran the full seven miles.  With two stops to stretch and a touch of walking with Letty, it took me an hour and ten minutes.  But I finished, and I wasn’t too sore afterwards.  I guess I’ll call that a victory.
Run Total: 2 x run (5.0 & 7.2 miles); 48.8 pts.
Weekly Training Total: 134.9 pts.
Final Thoughts
I don’t know what to think about the knee.  I iced it on Saturday after that run, and it’s been okay, but it’s sore going up and down stairs, and I’m concerned for the rest of the season.  More than anything, the uncertainty is holding me back from entering races this season; I don’t want to put in entries and then have to scratch because I’ve got this nagging injury.
On the flipside, as much as I want to focus on triathlon, if it’s just not going to happen, at least I’m swimming well.  There are a couple of open water races in Connecticut this season, and I have nothing against entering them and making it a focus to try and get on the podium.  That’s not my first choice, of course, but it’s not a bad fall-back plan, and at this point, I don’t know what else to do.  
I guess we’ll see how it goes.

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