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:
View Larger Map

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.

View Larger Map

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.

View Larger Map

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.