Monday, December 28, 2009

Climbing at Planet Granite

Uh oh, I may have added yet another activity to my repertoire.

Rakhi, Gabe, Vikram and I went climbing at Planet Granite in Sunnyvale. Vikram had never belayed and I hadn't done it in 4 or 5 years, so we started by taking lessons. I took climbing classes at Cornell my second year, but these lessons were much more relaxed. I feel much more confident about my belaying abilities this time. I enjoyed the climbing much more because I'm actually in shape. I went climbing at a wall in Berkeley once when I was an undergrad, and I was sore for days afterward. This time was relatively painless.

I'm currently signed up for weight lifting classes in the spring, but I think I'll drop the class and try climbing instead. It's equally good for building arm and leg muscles, but it's far more exciting and less regimented. The cost is almost the same ($30 for a climbing pass +$4 for shoe rentals vs. $90 for the class). The climbing wall at Cornell isn't the nicest, but it'll have to do. The biggest problem is that I don't have anyone to climb with and this is one activity that I can't do on my own. I have a few ideas of friends I can harass to accompany me however.

We had a great time and I hope that we make this an annual event. I think that this was the most active winter break I've ever had.

running + dim sum = a bad idea

Poonam, Vikram, and I went for an evening run together. It was right after sunset so the air was cool and a layer of fog had settled over the valley. I seldom feel homesick for California, but this run did the trick. We stayed together for this run, more or less. We had a late and heavy dim sum lunch and my stomach was not happy with this run, so I ended up walking more than I would have liked.

Nike+ run stats: 3.82 miles, 45'01" minutes, 11'46" minutes per mile

I didn't quite meet my weekly goal. I'll aim for 15 miles of running again next week.

Remaining workouts for the week of 12/21/09
1 hour of biking
15 3.84 miles of running
1 mile of swimming

Goal for the week of 12/28/09
1.5 hours of biking
15 miles of running
+climbing (no swimming this week because the pool is closed)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/26/09: running

Today I went for a quick run on my parents' treadmill. I'm not really on track to finish my weekly goal unless I go for another run this evening or do an extremely long run tomorrow.

Nike+ run stats: 2.71 miles, 29'50" minutes, 11'00" minutes per mile

Remaining workouts for the week of 12/21/09
1 hour of biking
15 7.66 miles of running
1 mile of swimming

Friday, December 25, 2009

12/25/09: running

Merry Christmas!

What better way to start off a major holiday than with a run. This morning, all three Juneja kids put on their running gear and headed out for a run. Vikram went out on his own to do 18 miles. Poonam and I opted for a shorter 4.6 mile route. Both my siblings are in full training mode for their upcoming Mississippi Blues half-marathon in January 2010. It'll be Vikram's second race and Poonam's first. It's amazing that all three of us are suddenly gung-ho runners, but I think it helps build motivation.

It was the perfect day for a run: clear blue skies, a crisp 40F temperature, and my sister as a running companion. With apologies to all my other running friends, no one beats my sister as a partner. We have genetically matched running styles. We're the same speed, have the same endurance, and even have the same right hip and back problems. (Our working hypothesis for this quirk is that we're both lopsided and that our right legs are slightly shorter than our left ones.)

This run put me in such an exuberant mood that I was singing at the top of my lungs while running through my hometown --- I love how my shyness completely disappears when the adrenaline kicks in.

Nike+ run stats: 4.63 miles, 54'59" minutes, 11'51" minutes per mile


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Runner's world

On a whim, I picked up Runner's World magazine to read on my flight home. I feel a bit like a poser calling myself a 'runner' after running for only 5 months, but it was worth it because I read the entire thing cover-to-cover on my flight.

Some highlights:
-summaries of reader's favorites marathons based on organization, fun, destination, speed, etc., including one in Corning, NY
-a weekly training regime for working towards half-marathons or full-marathons
-swimming exercises for runners
-safety information, including the stats that upward of 20 runners and 700 cyclists are killed in motor collisions every year-- important for me since I tend to be really lax about anything related to safety

At $12 per year, it's a no-brainer to get myself a subscription.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12/23/09: bike trainer

I affirmed a couple of things about my personality today. One, I'm a procrastinator. Two, I'm very stubborn-- if I say I'm going to do something, I'll try my very best to do it. I hopped on my bike trainer 1.5 hours before my ride to the airport was to pick me up. It was the last chance that I was going to have to bike for the week and I really wanted to be able to cross it off my list. I just barely had time to shower, pack a lunch, and do the dishes afterward. It was worth it though because flying is a lot more pleasant if you're slightly worn out.

I did 1 hour on my bike trainer to an episode of my new favorite show, 'Dexter.' In the episode I watched, one of the characters was dealing with a crisis by going into workout overload-- it made me laugh.

Remaining workouts for the week of 12/21/09
1 hour of biking
15 miles of running
1 mile of swimming

Monday, December 21, 2009

12/21/09: swimming

I miss swimming class. Some of the people who swim during open hours are douchebags. The pool is NOT for socializing, people! It seems like everyone left in Ithaca decided to go swimming at exactly the same time. At one point, we were up to 6 people in my lane.

I did the same workout that I did on the last day of class: 50 meters with the kickboard, 50 meters pull, 50 meters freestyle. In all, I did 37 laps (1.15 miles) with an average split time of 1:10 -- down 4 seconds from last time.

Remaining workouts for the week of 12/21/09
1 hour of biking
15 miles of running
1 mile of swimming

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/20/09: running

I went for another run with Maddy. I decided to push myself a little further than usual, so we ended up going 4 miles. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I feel really out of shape. I blame that partly on Maddy. She likes to sprint when she runs, so we have to alternate between running really fast and walking. But I also haven't been exercising as much as I was over the summer. Here's a quick tally of my week:

1.5 hours biking
1.75 hours of running (8.5 miles)
1 hour of yoga

Compare that to the summer where I'd regularly bike at least 60 miles a week (~5 hours), plus hit the gym several times a week. Many training guides will tell you to set a daily workout schedule. That doesn't work for me because I get very discouraged when I miss a workout and then give up. What's worked really well for me in the past is setting weekly or monthly goals. Even if I don't meet them, I still feel really good about what I do manage to accomplish. As a test run, here's my goal for this week:

1 hour of biking
15 miles of running (~3 hours)
1 mile of swimming (~45 minutes)
total: 4.75 hours

Run stats for today: 4.07 miles, 53'24" minutes, 13'06" minutes per mile

Running music

Music is a big part of my life, and running is no different. For me, running is when I allow myself to indulge in my guilty pleasure music: Pink, Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and so on. Good running music has the same qualities as good dancing music-- it's upbeat and catchy.

My Nike+ allows me to program a "power song" that I can access by holding down the center button on my iPod. I use it whenever I feel close close to giving up. More than once, it's given me a boost in energy that's allowed me to finish a run. My power song is currently "Just Like a Pill" (props to Shamoni for introducing me to Pink, the queen of angry borderline psychotic pop music). It took me a few weeks to realize that the chorus was perfect for running:

"I think I'll get outta here, where I can run
Just as fast as I can
To the middle of nowhere
To the middle of my frustrated fears"

Until now, my running mix has had about 25 songs in it. Today I finally invested the time in copying over a bunch of music from my old PC so that I could add a little variety. I'm excited to go for a run and give it a try.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12/19/09: running

I was incredibly sore on Thursday because of doing yoga the previous day. My hamstrings, shoulders, and upper arms were the worst. I guess those are muscle groups that aren't getting worked in other exercises. That's one more reason to go back to yoga.

After two days of rest, I decided to go for a run ... outside! I'm dog-sitting for a couple of days, and running is the perfect activity to tire Maddy out. It took a lot of willpower to run outside. I actually turned around the first time, came back, added a few layers, and then headed back out. I far prefer skiing outside to running at this time of year, but there isn't nearly enough snow yet.

On a side note, I just redid the layout and added a section for blogs I'm following. Check them out! My brother is training for his first marathon, Asti just did her first half marathon, and my new blogging friend is also training for his first triathlon. I didn't realize that I knew so many budding athletes.

Run stats: 2.01 miles, 21'56" minutes, 10'54" minutes per mile

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12/16/09: yoga

It had been a long time since I went for a yoga class. I asked Annie this morning if Tammi's class was any good. She gave it a thumbs up and decided to accompany me. I really like exercising with friends because 1) it motivates me to get my lazy butt to class and 2) it gives us time to catch up in the locker room.

I think I stopped going because I usually want the best workout I can get for my time investment, and yoga has been really low of my priority list. Apparently my memory failed me-- yoga can be a very good workout. It's excellent for strengthening core muscles, building arm strength, and stretching out my finicky back and hip muscles. I need to add it back into my rotation and try to go to classes a few times a month. Running and biking lead to tight muscles and I haven't been very diligent about stretching.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12/15/09: running

I was a little surprised that I wasn't the least bit sore after spinning. I did manage to aggravate my hip while walking to work a few days ago, so I'm not completely pain-free at the moment. I was a little worried about hopping on the treadmill, but I took it really easy and my hip didn't bother me at all. I slowly worked my way up to a 12'30" pace on the treadmill.

Nike+ run stats: 2.56 miles, 29'22" minutes, 11:27 minutes per mile

Monday, December 14, 2009

When life hands you lemons...

This quote, which was shared with me by a good friend, sums up my last year. It's probably pretty obvious to my friends that I used exercise as a way to cope with a bad breakup. In fact, one of the first things I did in the immediate aftermath was dust off my bike and go for a ride. I couldn't feel any emotional pain if I was in physical pain. Somewhere along the way, I became addicted. It's true that I used physical exertion to overcome my emotions. But at the same time, it gave me confidence, focus, energy, got rid of my insomnia, regulated my appetite, and gave me control over my life again.

Fortuitously, around this same time, my labmate and I were listening to our favorite podcast and one of the hosts was training for her first triathlon. Just like us, she was not athletic and had never considered doing anything like that before in her life. We started talking about putting together a relay team for the Cayuga Lake Triathlon, which was many months way. She was the swimmer, I was the biker, and we recruited a friend as the runner.

As soon as the spring set in, I started going biking with a friend. Training for the triathlon gave me a goal to strive for. I put hundreds of miles on my bike and forced myself into a regular workout routine, no matter how hectic life and work were. When the triathlon finally arrived, I was a little disappointed how short and easy 13 miles felt and how slow my time was. I hadn't been training for speed just for endurance which was the wrong approach for a sprint distance race. I bought a bike computer, switched to clipless pedals, and decided to train for my first century ride instead. I biked around Cayuga Lake on September 12, two days before I turned 28. It was that ride that gave me the sense of accomplishment that I had been looking for.

I knew immediately after the CLT that I wanted to do a triathlon on my own. I knew that I could do the swimming with enough practice and the biking was obviously not a problem. However, at that point, the furthest I had ever run in my life was one mile and that was in high school, and if there was one thing I knew with certainty, it was that I *hated* running. Since the biking season was winding down (I am not someone who will ever bike in snow), I decided to start training for running. I figured that I could force myself to run 5k so that I could do a sprint distance triathlon. Much to my shock, I discovered that I really like running, so much so that I might even try to do a half marathon next year.

People seldom understand what I mean when I say that I enjoy the soreness that comes after a good workout. I'm in good enough shape right now that a normal run or bike ride doesn't hurt. It's only when I push myself a little further than I can handle that I get sore. The pain reminds me of all the progress I've made and tells me that I'm getting better. Looking back over the last year, it's hard to believe that I've come so far in such a short period of time. There have been ups and downs, but I'm quite proud of where I've ended up.

12/14/09: spinning

Hurrah, I conned my way into spinning class using my driver's license and my temporary pass from when I first signed up for my gym membership! I'm going to be sore in the morning. This is the first time I've gone spinning in over 2 months. It was thoroughly exhausting (as it always is), but now I remember why I was so addicted. You just don't get the same endorphins from working out without 60 year old woman yelling at you to push harder and climb further. I'm also learning to distinguish between mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion. At around 5 PM tonight, I was exhausted from another day of mundane lab work, reading papers, and staring at the computer. I wanted nothing more than to go home and curl up on the couch. It was impossible for me to be physically exhausted: I got plenty of sleep and definitely haven't been overly exerting myself lately. As soon as I hopped on the bike, the mental exhaustion from the day melted away and I was full of energy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12/13/09: bike trainer

I tried to go spinning for the first time in a long time, but I was turned away because I didn't have my Cornell ID. I came home and spent 35 minutes on my bike trainer in front of 'Law and Order: SVU.' My ability to sleep has been really inconsistent lately so I'm hoping that I wore myself out enough to sleep through the night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last Chance Trail Run

I learned today that running in snow is hard. It's a lot like running on sand, but with the added danger of frost bite and black ice. We did the Last Chance Trail Run and Pancake Breakfast in Fabius, NY. Runners will do the craziest things: we paid $5 to wake up at 7 am on a Saturday, drive an hour, and run at below 20F temperatures uphill in the snow. I swear though that pancakes have never tasted so delicious. Michelle and I ran 4 miles (~55 minutes), and Ben, Gretchen, Cresten, and Aaron (B&G's friend) ran 6 miles. Afterward we all enjoyed mickey mouse chocolate chip pancakes in the ski lodge where the run started.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12/10/09: running

Apparently my motivation was short-lived. I almost bailed on running today because I was feeling tired, but I convinced myself to go for a short time. I ended up being able to run 25 straight minutes on the treadmill at a 13 minute per mile rate according to the treadmill. I bumped into Melissa and Michelle at the gym. Apparently they've been starting to work out again, so I told them to start bothering me to join them. I'll be more consistent if I have people depending on me.

Run stats: 26'56" minutes, 2.12 miles, 12'41" minutes per mile

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12/8/09: running

I was really worried that I'd lost all my motivation, but I think I just needed a break from swimming. It's nice to go back to working out how I want and when I want. I've also come to terms with the fact that the treadmill is how I like to run in the winter. I like running between 5 and 7 in the evening, and those are the times that the indoor track is shut. I've learned my lesson about being careful on the treadmill and I'm gradually increasing my speed until I feel comfortable running faster. Today, I stayed around 13'30" minutes per mile, according to the treadmill.

Run stats: 2.6 miles, 31'44" minutes, 12'10" minutes per mile

Monday, December 7, 2009

12/7/09: running + squash

After an extremely lethargic weekend (if you don't include the dancing that I did on Saturday night), I finally feel like working out again. I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with the vow that I would stop running if my back started bothering me. I also ran at an extremely slow pace so that I can begin to the build my running muscles back. I averaged 14 min/mile according to the treadmill and felt terrific afterward. My back and hip did bother me, so I alternated running and walking. I felt like a little more exercise, so Maddie and I played a few rounds of squash. We were pretty evenly matched -- she won 2 and I won 2.

Run stats: 2.53 miles, 31'38" minutes, 12'28" minutes per mile

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12/3/09: swimming

Last swim class of the semester! I'll probably keep swimming over winter break, just not at 9 am twice a week. My swimming endurance and form has definitely improved over the last few months. I've switched from breathing every 3 strokes to breathing every 4, which means that I always breathe on the right instead of alternating. I also focus on keeping my hips high in the water, which should mean I have less drag. And whereas I used to be exhausted after every class, now I feel energized afterward.

Today we could do any workout we wanted and I decided to swim a mile. I did 100 yards as a warmup, and then alternated pulling, freestyle, and kicking (recovery). This way I could really isolate my arms and my legs separately. This would be a good workout to do again.

Swim stats (no more split times-- I started a google doc for that): 37 laps, 1850 yards (1.05 miles), average split time 1:14

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12/2/09: running

I didn't sleep very well last night because I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really dehydrated. I tried to go for a run on the indoor track in the morning, but I had to stop because I felt like I was going to pass out. I think that it was more from lack of sleep than any residual effects of the blood donation. Run stats: 1.12 miles, 12'55" minutes per mile

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Punita vs Poonam, part 2

12/1/09: swimming

Lesson for the day: swimming and blood donation do not mix. I donated blood a few hours after swim class and felt light headed and nauseous afterward. Swim class itself was rather uneventful. My lane did 1550 yards (0.88 miles).

Split times: :51, 1:00, :59, 1:02, 1:10, 1:13, 1:14, 1:03, 1:16, :57, 1:11, 1:36, 1:12, 1:10, 1:17, 1:14,
1:25, 2:05, 1:25, 1:37, 1:09, 1:15, 1:15, 1:20, 1:31, 1:36, 1:06, 1:24, 1:13, 1:26, 1:27 (31 laps, average time 1:19)

Monday, November 30, 2009

11/30/09: running

I haven't felt like running lately. Today I went running for impure reasons-- my brand new wardrobe will no longer fit it I don't keep my act together. That being said, the run felt fantastic. Run stats: 2.35 miles, 10'53" minutes per mile

Split times: 1:13, 1:20, 1:19, 1:20, 1:20, 1:19, 1:22, 1:24, 1:23, 1:24, 1:23, 1:26, 1:26, 1:27, 1:25, 1:30, 1:30, 1:34 (18 laps, average time 1:24)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

11/26/09: turkey trot + yoga

Ben, Gretchen, Annie and I did the 37th annual Ithaca Turkey Trot. It started and ended at Ithaca High School and went through Cayuga Heights, Stewart Park and the golf course. It was a total of 5.5 miles which Annie and I did in 1:03:30 (average pace of 11'32" minutes per mile). I felt out of shape and had to walk a lot more than I would have liked, but our average speed was actually pretty good for me given the distance. Afterwards, I did a yoga video for cooling down after skiing or snowboarding... those are the same muscles, right?? I'm really starting to enjoy youtube exercise videos. I'm much better at stretching when there's a predefined time and someone telling me what to do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

11/25/09: bike trainer + strength training

I meant to go running but the cold always scares me off. Instead, I biked to one episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' this morning before work. After work, I did a few short strength building exercises from

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/24/09: swimming

I've enjoyed swimming all semester, but I'll be so glad when it's over. These days I dread getting in the pool and the first 100 yards are always painful. After the initial hump it's always fun. However, a break will be nice. I only did 1050 yards today because my foot and ankle cramped up as soon as I put on the fins.

Split times: :52, 1:04, 1:01, 1:22, 1:02, 1:27, :57, :58, 1:01, 1:31, 1:16, 2:07, 1:37, 1:24, 1:01, 1:05, 1:21, 1:22, 1:02, 1:14, 2:50 (21 laps, average split time 1:22)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

11/22/09: strength training + biking

I did a quick weightlifting video with 8 lb weights (it hurt!), followed by about 40 minutes on the bike trainer while watching the latest episode of 'Bones.' My pumpkin tarts for our annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner were in the oven so the entire apartment smells like pumpkin. I'm glad I squeezed in a workout because now I won't feel guilty for gorging myself for the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

11/19/09: swimming

Maybe someday soon I'll be able to stop saying this: my (lack of) upper body strength is embarrassing but I have cyclist legs. I got promoted to the top of my lane today for the kick exercises and seriously lapped on the pull ones. Also, my $30 watch is the best investment I've made in a long time. By next semester, I think I'll be able to see changes in my split times.

Split times: :53, 1:25, :55, 1:19, 1:02, 1:14, 1:02, 1:12, 1:28, 1:41, 1:45, 1:48, 1:01, 1:01, 1:16, 1:12, 1:11, 1:05, 1:08, 1:25, 1:07, 2:40, 1:13, 1:44, 1:13, 1:50, 1:24, 1:27, 1:13, :38, 1:15 (31 laps, average time 1:22)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/18/09: strength training + running

People tell me from time to time that they don't have enough time to exercise. I've found a couple of simple ways to become more efficient about my workouts. For example, 2 videos take approximately 15 minutes, the time I used to spend eating cereal and checking my email. Now I do the latter while getting dressed. I also shower up to 5 times a week at the gym. It takes me about 45 minutes to shower, blow dry my hair, and get dressed at home, and only a fraction of that time in the locker room. Those extra minutes can be used for a quick swim or a run.

Today I went for a run at lunch with Shamoni. It's my first real run in two weeks (15 days to be precise) and it felt amazing. A little exercise regulates my body and I require less food, less caffeine, and I have much better focus afterward. We ran in the middle lanes of the indoor track at Barton Hall. I timed myself using my watch and using the iPod.

Run stats (iPod): 23'51", 2.06 miles, 11'31" minutes per mile
Run stats (watch): 22'38", 2 miles, 11'19" minutes per mile
Run split times: 1:26, 1:32, 1:27, 1:24, 1:23, 1:24, 1:27, 1:28, 1:28, 1:40, 1:34, 1:51, 1:38, 1:33, 1:15 (15 laps, average time 1:31)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11/17/09: swimming

Since it's been over a week since my last decent workout, I took it easy today by swimming in the slow lane. I went a couple of hundred yards further than I should have for it to be a mellow workout. I didn't feel great afterward, but it's time to resume aerobic exercise.

Split times: 1:05, 1:05, 1:11, 2:07, 1:18, 1:25, 1:26, 1:44, 1:23, 1:07, 1:07, 1:55, 1:40, 1:39, 1:45, 1:45, 1:10, 1:22, 1:36, 1:36, :57, 1:48, 1:29, 1:29, 1:30, 1:49, 1:30, 1:03, 1:05 (29 laps, average split time 1:30)

Monday, November 16, 2009

11/16/09: strength building + bike trainer

I did a few quick strength building exercises before work. I think they're working because I definitely felt sore in my legs and arms today. After work, I did 30 minutes on my new bike trainer while watching Law and Order. Finally-- guilt free television watching!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

11/15/09: strength building

I'm still too sick for the bike trainer, but I can handle non-aerobic, strength building exercises. I've found some workout videos that I really like on YouTube from I like the variety that using different types of equipment introduces. It keeps things from becoming too repetitive and boring. I also like these short videos because I can isolate muscle groups that need work. Upper arm and leg exercises are lacking from my current regime and have the potential to really help my swimming.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

11/14/09: strength assessment

I'm slowly going out of my mind due to boredom and lack of exercise. The cold has flared up again and now I also have pink eye. Earlier this week, I checked out Tripower: The Ultimate Strength Training, Core Conditioning, Endurance, and Flexibility Program for Triathlon Success from the library. It's a book specifically dedicated to building strength in muscle groups that are used in triathlon sports. It begins with a strength assessment that is supposed to repeated every month. I really like tests like that because they're a great way to measure progress. I was missing a few vital pieces of equipment, so I made a quick shopping trip to TJMaxx.

I picked up a physio ball, some tension bands, and a yoga mat (total cost: $35). My spending has increased lately, but I blame it on the change of seasons. Home exercise is the only way I'm going to stay in shape over winter and is the most time efficient way to incorporate workouts into my schedule.

pushups* in 60 seconds: 10
wall sit using physio ball (time to exhaustion): 1'07"
side plank (time to exhaustion): 30" (R), 32" (L)
side plank with bent knee (time to exhaustion): 43" (R), 29" (L)
prone plank (time to exhaustion): 32"
extensor chain [balancing on physio ball parallel to ground while facing down] (time to exhaustion): 2'02"
core strength: 100%

*didn't even touch the ground

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bicycle trainer

I got a new trainer for my bike and now I can ride indoors through the winter!

It's a Minoura Magturbo magnetic inter-rim trainer. Before today, I had no idea what that meant or how a trainer worked. Basically, it elevates the rear bike wheel and offers magnetic resistance against which you pedal. The downside is that it's not a wind resistance trainer, which apparently offers resistance in a positive feedback loop (i.e. the faster you pedal the more resistance there is) and is good for interval training. The plus side is that the resistance is applied to the rim of the bike tire and not directly to the tire surface so it doesn't wear out the tire tread. Total cost: $75 (used via Craigslist). If it allows me to exercise before work without having to go outside, I think it'll be money well spent.

11/12/09: swimming

Swimming was a disaster today. We did timed swims, and I was not up to it. We did timed 100 yard swims in heats, followed by 50 yards. I did a terrible job of pacing myself on the 100 and I just didn't have the stamina to finish. I paced myself much better on the 50, but just lacked the energy to sprint to the finish. My time ended up being 47 sec for 50 yards. I wish this wasn't the week I was sick. On Tuesday, the class did free swim for 45 minutes to see how much distance they could cover. My lane did 2000 yards. That's not so far off from my personal max of 1700 yards. Hopefully we'll do both these exercises again because they're great motivators for getting faster.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11/11/09: abs+

I've been sick for the past few days. I canceled squash today with Mel but allowed myself to be convinced to go to abs class. I managed to multitask in my convalescence these past few days: the time off allowed by cold to get better and my back/hip injuries to heal. I think I hurt both my back and hip at the same time, and now the back has healed but the hip is still bothering me. Abs class gave me a chance to gently resume exercise. It was highly ab centered this week so hopefully it didn't make my hip worse.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

11/8/09: swimming

I got a brand new watch that has a lap timer so I gave it a whirl today while swimming. I did 30 laps in 36 minutes. I'm still working on swimming form and keeping my head low in the water and my feet high. It's getting easier and I definitely make each stroke go further when I'm in the correct position. All day I was feeling like I'm coming down with a cold, and swimming totally cured it (for the moment). My back is still bugging me so I didn't make it the entire 45 minutes that I intended, but I think I'll need to stick to gentle biking and swimming this week while I recover.

Split times: 59, 1:02, 1:04, 1:05, 1:08, 1:06, 1:09, 1:07, 1:09, 1:04, 1:30, 1:07, 1:08, 1:11, 1:11, 1:12, 1:03, 1:30, 1:10, 1:12, 1:12, 1:20, 1:12, 1:18, 1:20, 1:14, 1:12, 1:56, 1:10, 1:14 (30 laps, average split time 1:12)

Friday, November 6, 2009

11/6/09: running

Stupid: running after your back starts hurting
Smart: stopping a run once your back starts to hurt
Smartest: don't go running in the first place

Today I was smart. My back was bothering me, but I decided to give running a try anyway because I haven't been since Tuesday (it's becoming a drug...). After a mile, my back was starting to hurt and I was feeling exhausted. I read my body's signals and decided today should be a day of rest. Everyone needs those once in awhile. Run stats: 1.16 miles, 12'37", average pace of 10'51" minutes per mile.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

11/5/09: swimming

I checked out The Triathlete's Training Bible from the library. On the very first page was the quote:

"Many dedicated endurance athletes don't need to be told what do to-- they need to be told what not to do."

Seems very appropriate given my back problems this week. Luckily, I seem to have bounced back and swimming today was no problem. We are now up to 5 people in my lane and I am still the slowest... grrr. We used fins for most of today. I'm fast as long as no arms are required.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

11/4/09: squash

Apparently "taking it easy" in my world means playing squash... me and my poor life decisions. I won 1 game and Mel won 3.

11/3/09: running

Today I went to the gym with Maddie and ran on the treadmill. My goal was to run a 5k as measured by the treadmill, which I did in precisely 35 minutes. I tweaked my back and kept running through it which shows very poor judgment because now I need to take it easy. Nike+ run stats: 3.31 miles, 35'04", for an average pace of 10'34" minutes per mile.

11/1/09: running

I went running on the treadmill in the hotel gym the morning after Priti's wedding. Interestingly, this treadmill registered more miles and a faster time than the Nike+, so the misestimates seem to be treadmill specific. Run stats: 3.32 miles, 40'20", for an average pace of 12'07" minutes per mile.

Friday, October 30, 2009

10/30/09: swimming

I went swimming during open hours to makeup for missing class yesterday. I went 1700 yards (0.97 miles) in 40 minutes... not too shabby! I didn't mess around with strokes and just did freestyle the entire time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10/29/09: running

I had trouble sleeping again last night, so I skipped swimming this morning. Went for a run later in the evening to make up for it. Yet again, I went faster and further than ever. I did some poking around on the internet, and it looks like the Nike+ doesn't work well on treadmills. I may be able to calibrate it to the treadmill, but that seems like a pain. It's too bad because I'm really enjoying the treadmill a lot more than I thought I would. "Run stats:" 3.31 miles, 32'29", for an average pace of 9'49" minutes per mile.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10/28/09: running

Furthest and fastest run so far! I went to the gym over my lunch hour and ran on a treadmill. It was actually very enjoyable and I was completely energized for the rest of the day. Stats: 3.12 miles, 34'09", for an average 10'55" minutes per mile.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

10/27/09: swimming and squash

Robyn, my swimming instructor, summed up our distance for the day: 1400 yards. I got really frustrated when I saw it because I'm still swimming the exact same distance as when I started. It got me thinking, though-- I've been working out regularly for about 3 months out of my entire life. It's possible that my expectations for improvement are set a little too high. It's a pretty amazing that in as little as 12 weeks, I can run 3 miles, bike a century, and swim a mile per hour.

In other news, we have a new swimmer in my lane, for a grand total of three of us. He's the same speed as I am or maybe a little slower, but it's nice to have someone to pace myself against. The other swimmer is way faster and I have no hope of keeping up. The goal for the next 3 months is to find pacers for all my activities. Group training is the only way for me to build speed.

In the evening, I played squash against Melissa. I lost twice and won once. To sum things up: practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10/25/09: running

Annie and I went for a lovely run through the Plantations on another beautiful fall afternoon. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn on my iPod so I have no idea how fast or how far we went. However, my knees were killing me by the end so I know that I pushed myself more than usual. I think the key to getting faster is to find fast running partners.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

10/24/09: running

Grr went running with Michelle, who's much faster than I am, and I still went exactly the same speed as always. We left from lab and went around Beebe Lake 3 times. It poured right before we left so the trail was nice and squishy. Run stats: 2.78 miles, 34'18", for a speed of 12'18" per mile.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

10/22/09: swimming

This is apparently the week to improve on form. My friend Heather told me earlier this week that my swimming "sucked." I was annoyed at first as almost anyone would be, but then I asked for constructive criticism since "sucking" wasn't really something I could improve on. She said that my feet were too low in the water and suggested that I hold my head in a straight line with the rest of my body. Today we had a 40 minute open workout, which was a perfect opportunity to focus on form.

For backstroke, my head is usually almost perpendicular to the water so I can keep my bearings. I tilted my head back today and my feet shot straight to the surface. For freestyle, my normal body position was almost correct, but I tried lowering my head just a little bit. Even though the change in my head position was minuscule, it was very effective at raising my feet. Interestingly, for whatever reason it also became easier to only breathe on one side, so I went from breathing every 3 strokes to every 4.

Also, this article in the New York Times is pretty convincing about the fact that cooling down after a normal workout is unnecessary. I usually begin and end my runs with a 5 minute walk. Looks like I can save those precious minutes for stretching!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10/21/09: running

Today I worked on running posture, again taking a cue from the book "Marathon Training for Dummies." According to the author, the proper posture is to be slightly bent forward at the waist and for your thumbs to brush against your hipbone as you run. The former is pretty natural but the latter felt a bit awkward. We'll see how long I keep that up. Run stats: 31'08", 2.58 miles, for a speed of 12'03" per mile. I followed running by stretching again. With all my biking and aerobic exercise, my muscles are always very tight. This may be all in my head, but I swear I already feel my muscles loosening up.

My running book also suggests adding variety to routes by alternating between running north, south, east, or west from your house. Today I headed up Snyder Hill to try out something different. Route map:
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10/20/09: squash

For the first time, I couldn't make myself to go swimming. I stayed out too late last night and just didn't want to get in the pool this morning. Classes are good for motivation but I'm getting a little sick of being constrained to swimming on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week. I made up for it by playing a vigorous game of squash with Michelle. This was our third consecutive week and our (my) improvement is really starting to show. I lost 5 consecutive games, but we were both thoroughly worn out by the end so I must have at least put up a good fight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

10/19/09: running

I won't lie, it was incredibly difficult to head out for a run when it was 24 degrees outside. But as always, it felt fantastic once I got started. I tried something called tempo running from my new marathon book. It's basically the inverse of interval running: instead of run/walk sets, it's slow run/fast run sets. I started with a 10 minute slow run, worked up to a 10 minute fast run, and finished with an 8 minute cooldown run. I think I've officially given up on Podrunner because my progress was too slow. Today was one of my best runs so far! I followed the run with "Active Isolated Stretching," also from my new book. It felt very good, but it's too soon to say if it'll make a difference. Run stats: 28'08", 2.5 miles, for a speed of 11'13" per mile.

Google finally has a satellite map of Ithaca complete with walking trails! This is an approximate map of my route. There's a shortcut from Wildflower that I used to get to the East Hill Rec Trail.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Zeppy 5K

The weather couldn't have been better for our 5K (well for Ithaca anyway). It hovered just around freezing, but the sky was clear blue, the sun was out, and the fall colors were at their peak. Five of us ran as a group (Heather, Ben, Gretchen, Cresten and me) and it made the run fly by. The run went through the Cornell Plantations and there were more hills than I'm used to, but it was still quite a doable run. I forgot to turn my pedometer on at the start, but it recorded 2.25 miles in 28'52" for an average run time of 12'49" per mile. See the (partial) run stats here.

Post-run we hit the the Friends of the Library booksale and I bought Marathon Training for Dummies and Beginning Bicycle Racing. Most of the advice is common sense, but it's fun to read and good motivation to start working on my speed. I'm already a few chapters into the marathon book, and so far I haven't learned anything new but have gotten validation for many of my training practices. For example, the authors suggests keeping a training log--or blog in this case--to keep track of run stats and equipment purchases, and signing up for short races as motivation. I also learned that the word marathon cames from a Greek soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver a message and then promptly died. The distance came from the first Olympic marathon in London, and the 0.2 miles came from wanting the race to finish in front of the royal family.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poonam v Punita

Sibling rivalry via Nike+.

10/15/09: swimming

~1400 yards (0.8 mi) without any equipment. I was lapped twice by people in my lane. I'm feeling very out of shape without my 2-4 hour bike rides twice a week. One hour workouts just aren't cutting it. I can't wait for cross-country skiing season to start because I feel like that's the only wintertime activity that can keep me entertained for long periods of time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10/14/09: running

I had two very demoralizing runs-- I got cramps both times and I ended up walking more than running. I thought it was because I drank too much water beforehand for the run last night, but that wasn't an issue for this morning's run. Maybe it's too cold? It's freaking me out because the 5K is this weekend.

10/13 run:

10/14 run:

Monday, October 12, 2009

10/12/09: running

Whoohoo, a personal best! There are going to be a lot of those because I've decided to start timing only the running portions of my runs rather than the runs with the walking intervals. I'm also going to start doing "First Day to 5K" once a week and just run to music for the rest of the week. I'll stick by the prescribed intervals, though. This was my last run in Jackson.

25 minute run:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10/10/09: running

I did this run with Poonam in Jackson, Mississippi. No podcast this time, just a 25 minute run.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

10/8/09: swimming

We did 1600 yards (0.91 miles) today with a mix of kicking, pulling, and basic swimming. I've got plenty of aerobic and leg exercises in my schedule-- next goal is to incorporate weights or pushups to start working on my arms. I could be a really strong swimmer if my upper body were stronger.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10/7/09: running and squash

Today my goal was to go faster and I did! I was dying by the end, but I knocked almost a minute per mile off my time and went a tenth of a mile further than my last run. I also played squash with Michelle... I had forgotten how fun and exhausting a good game can be!


34 minutes from 130 to 140 BPM
5-min. warmup @ 130 BPM
25 min. @ 140 BPM
4-min. cooldown @ 130 BPM

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10/6/09: swimming

I really didn't feel like swimming this morning, but the joy of taking a class is that you have no choice. Today was grueling: we did 1450 yards (0.82 miles) without any accessories. I am the strongest kicker in my lane (not surprising given my bike mileage this summer) but have the weakest upper body. The best drill we did today was freestyle using one arm only. My right arm is super strong and my left arm is spaghetti. Guess I need to work on one arm drills.

Monday, October 5, 2009

10/5/09: running and spinning

I really didn't feel like running this morning, but since I hadn't exercised in 3 days, I forced myself to do it. I felt much better as soon as I started running. Today's mix had a 25 minute run which was easy. Now that I've got endurance, I just need to work on my pace.

WEEK 6 Mix 3

34 minutes from 130 to 140 BPM

5-min. warmup @ 130 BPM
25 min. @ 140 BPM
3-min. 30 sec. cooldown @ 130 BPM

And in the evening I went spinning with Maddie and Shamoni.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

10/1/09: swimming and running

Excellent workout today, although I'm currently the slowest in my lane (still Lane 1: intermediate). My freestyle is fine, but I'm very slow at backstroke and I practically swim backwards while doing breaststroke. We used paddles for the first time today, and I'm not sure what they're supposed to help you with--- all I know is it felt like I was swimming through syrup today and my arms are going to hurt tomorrow.

Annie and I had plans to go biking, but darkness is falling earlier these days so we went for a run instead. Now my arms and quads are going to hurt in the morning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

9/30/09: running and abs+

I realized that I run faster in the morning than in the evening, and that I run faster on the trail than when I'm running in circles on the track. Regardless, I was feeling sleepy and this run perked me up so much that I was even able to go to abs class afterward.

WEEK 6 Mix 2

32 minutes from 130 to 140 BPM

5-min. warmup @ 130 BPM
10 min. @ 140 BPM
3 min. @ 131 BPM
10 min. @ 140 BPM
4-min. cooldown @ 130 BPM

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9/29/09: swimming

Today was an extremely slow day and I didn't get a good workout. Having trouble sleeping again and it's sapping all my energy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ride for Life pics

At the start and finish lines...

Victory ride...

9/28/09: running

I'm officially getting slower each time I practice! This run was in Barton again.

WEEK 6 Mix 1

32 minutes from 131 to 141 BPM

5-min. warmup @ 131 BPM
5 min. @ 141 BPM
3 min. @ 132 BPM
8 min. @ 141 BPM
3 min. @ 132 BPM
5 min. @ 141 BPM
4-min. cooldown @ 131 BPM

Sunday, September 27, 2009

9/27/09: running and spinning

Went for a run on the track in Barton Hall on account of the rain. It's not so bad running in circles if you've got a goal to keep yourself motivated. I'm a little disconcerted that I'm actually getting slower. Maybe it's because I run slower over long distances than when it's interval sets with short bursts of running? The first mix of week 6 is back to intervals so I'll get to test this hypothesis shortly.

WEEK 5 Mix 3

28 minutes from 130 to 140 BPM
5 min. warmup @ 130 BPM
20 min. @ 140 BPM
3 min. cooldown @ 130 BPM

Since 20 minutes of running isn't really a workout, I also went to spinning class (17 miles). I clipped in to the bike for the first time, which was fun. I'm not happy that winter is coming, but I did miss going to spinning class and the thorough exhaustion that follows it. No insomnia tonight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9/24/09: swim conditioning

I decided that since I'm no longer training exclusively for biking, it's time to start giving equal weight to swimming and running. That being said, there's really not too much to say about swimming so these posts will be short.

Today was a major day for lane reassignment. I'm still in Lane 1 (medium), but a few people from the slow lanes also moved up, so some of the faster people from Lane 1 switched out. It was the best workout I've had so far since we did a lot of swimming pulls, which is swimming with a buoy between your legs so that you only use your arms. That's probably why it's so strenuous for me--- right now, my arms are my weakest muscles.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Other activities

9/1/09: 30 min on the elliptical to Week 3: First Day to 5K
9/2/09: running, 2.4 miles of Week 3: First Day to 5K
9/2/09: abs+ with Elaina
9/8/09: running, 2.45 mi, 12'27" min/mi, Week 4
9/9/09: swim conditioning (Lane 5)
9/15/09: swim conditioning (Lane 5)
9/16/09: running, 2.45 mi, 12'16" min/mi, Week 4
9/17/09: swim conditioning, 1350 yards (Lane 5)
9/19/09: running, 2.46 mi, 12'04" min/mi, Week 5, Mix 1
9/20/09: running, 0.95 mi, 11'07" min/mi
9/22/09: swim conditioning (Lane 1)
9/23/09: running, 2.26 mi, 12'59" min/mi, Week 5, Mix 2
9/23/09: abs+ with Elaina

Sunday, September 20, 2009

15 mile ride through Ellis Hollow

This ride was with Shamoni.

Ride stats:
Time: 1:21:17
Distance: 15.060 mi
Avg Speed: 11.1 mph
Max Speed: 30.1 mph

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

14 mile bike ride through Ellis Hollow

Annie's birthday present to me was to accompany me on this ride. The fall colors are just about to start, and the sun was starting to set as we were heading back. We're getting to the best time of the year to ride a bike.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

101 mile ride around Cayuga Lake

Ride stats:
Time: 7:10:12
Distance: 100.79 miles
Avg Speed: 14.1 mph
Max Speed: 35.7 mph

Well, it's done now. I decided to go for the full 100 miles instead of just 85 since "it's only another 15 miles." I realized that I wanted to try to do a century, and that I would be okay if I couldn't complete it and needed to be picked up early. There were moments when I thought I wouldn't be able to finish and moments when I almost gave up. Here's the breakdown of what I remember:

Miles 1-30 Easy! Flew up the hill on Rt 34 without a problem. I did wish I had eaten breakfast but managed to make it to the first pit stop anyway.

Miles 30-50 Started to feel tired and couldn't believe I wasn't even half way done.

Miles 50-60 Got a second wind. Crossing through Montezuma was exhilarating because I knew that was at the top of the lake and the halfway point. I had driven through there before but it was amazing to bike to there all the way from Ithaca. I did take two ibuprofen at lunch because my knees were starting to feel a bit creaky at this point.

Miles 60-80 This is when I started to feel like I couldn't finish. My speed dropped down to 9-10 mph and I felt like I had no more energy to give. I was riding pit stop to pit stop, and decided to just see how much further I could push it.

Miles 80-100 I started to feel better as the end got closer. I've done dozens of 10-20 mile rides, so I tried to muster up the energy for just one more short ride. The last 10 miles felt great. I knew I had the stamina to finish, my speed picked up, and I coasted up the hill coming out of Taughannock without any problem.

Overall, the support for the ride was amazing. The organization that went into each of the pitstops in terms of location, staffing, and refreshments was so well thought out. There were motorcycles and cars following alongside us the entire time to pick up tired bikers, help fix flats, or just encourage us up the hills. There was a flag person at every intersection to help guide traffic-- I only had to unclip at one light the entire ride. People from the community came out to sit along the roadsides with signs of support or to wave from their front lawns. I'm glad that my first century was done with STAP with a wonderful group of volunteers. My next goal is to volunteer my time for an event like this.

And lastly I'm so grateful for the support of my friends and family. People donated their money, trained with me, listened to me talk about biking incessantly, came to meet me at the finish line (and gave me a speed course in changing a flat tire!), cheered on the victory ride, and celebrated with me at the end. You guys really powered me throughout this whole summer and to say I'm thankful is an understatement.

Here's an approximate map of route with pit stops at King Ferry Winery, Frontenac Park, Verdi Signs, Seneca Falls Community center (lunch), Thee Amish Market, Bellwether Hard Cider, and Cass Park along the way.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

41 mile bike ride to Candor

I reduced the tension in my pedals today and now I'm much less scared of using them for the ride around the lake. I can unclip in milliseconds and clip in much easier than before. I do have a new fear... unrestrained dogs. I was chased down by one until it's owner came out and called it off. I'm not really sure what I should do to defend myself from the next one.

Time: 3:10:46
Distance: 40.598 miles
Max Speed: 32.4 mph
Avg Speed: 12.8 mph

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