day sixty one – shaved

Last night, in an effort to make Spring stick around, I shaved my legs. Now there’s no way the weather can deprive me of outside time.

Today, I swam. Because I shaved last night, I wanted some extra resistance, so I wore a pair of board shorts over my ‘jammers’. It had the desired effect. Today’s swim was a tough one.

Also, I did something I’ve never done before. I took a pair of paddles from the box and have them a try. The first couple of lengths I did with them, I felt like a drunk alligator. It was as if I’d never been in the water in my life.

But once I got the hang of them, I could really sense a benefit. They help to remind you to maintain good form with the arms.

They also increase the resistance of your hands under water. This is really strange when you take them off. It’s amazing how rapidly the brain learns about tools being attached to the body. Taking the paddles off, my hands felt tiny, as if they weren’t even there!

But the workout was good. Warm up, then 4x (80 swim, 80 pull, 80 paddles, 80 swim) with thirty seconds in between. I feel tired now, which is rare for me after swimming.

Tomorrow, brick time!

day sixty – legs

I started a job as a prep cook in a kitchen on Monday. Between the prep kitchen and the main kitchen, there is a flight of stairs.

In a six hour shift, I lost count how many times I climbed and descended those stairs. And yesterday I noticed something.

My gluteus somethingus was really tender. For years, I’ve been trying to find a way to consistently work on my glutes. I may have found it, and it’s helping pay the bills!

However… Every silver lining has its cloud. This was a small one, and it will quickly blow through. This morning I tried a bike workout.

I had prescribed an hour, but I only lasted fifty minutes. After a ten minute warm up, I did four times five minutes at Zone 4, two minutes off. Then I cruised for twelve minutes, and then bailed.

For me, training without a plan is hard. Harder still, apparently, is training with a plan I created. I really have trouble focusing during workouts. And that happened today.

That and I couldn’t get my heart rate up. But I’m just going to put it down to the stair climbing, and embrace the benefits that will provide for training in a few weeks.

(In no way is the work I do in this kitchen comparable to Orwell’s kitchens from Down And Out In Paris and London. Nor any other professional kitchen I’ve worked in.)

day fifty nine – cold

Today I was planning to get up and run on the track across the street from my house. But then it was raining when I woke up, so I decided against it.

That probably turned out to be a mistake. I ran after work, instead. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem, except that today, while I was at work, I was getting information all day about a deteriorating weather situation.

By the time I was done with work, it had snowed, again. And it was probably much colder than it had been in the morning. But I headed out in shorts, because, well, foolhardiness, I guess.

Ten minute easy warmup, followed by 3 x 7 minutes on, two minutes off. Then a ten minute cool down.

It felt good to be running outside, as always. But it was rather chillier than I had expected. But as the great Ron Hill once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “people run with too many clothes on these days. When we used to run in freezing rain in just a best and shorts, you had a reason to work hard.” (He didn’t mention anything about losing feeling in your penis, though.)

day fifty eight – spike

Today was a bike day.

Still adjusting to life after TriDot.

I prescribed a 1:10 bike ride with four longish efforts. I noticed one thing right away. After the warmup, which I did as just a straight ten minutes Zone 2, I couldn’t get my HR into Zone 4 for love, money, or extra effort.

I then realized the point, and the importance of the ‘spin ups’ and the other short efforts in the warm up. They wake up the heart. They get it ready to be stressed.

So when I omitted them, it took a while to get my HR up. When I did, things went well, racked up just over twenty miles.

Another thing I noticed was that I can get better control of my knees with a little mindfulness. Like a lot of cyclists, I have weak, tight hip flexors. I stretch—though not as much as I should—but they remain tight.

I’ve noticed that, perhaps because of this, my knees ‘wobble’ when I push down on the pedals. Today, I focused on pushing straight down, engaging my low back, hip and hip flexors, and keeping my knee in line.

It seemed to help. At least, my left hip is sore now. Hopefully with time it’ll ease.

day fifty seven – alone

Or perhaps: day one – afresh.

Today is my first day training since the end of the TriDot programme. I think on going to stick with the same pattern of workouts. Swim, bike, run, bike, swim, brick, run/bike.

For the first month of the TriDot plan, I worked out every day without feeling fatigued or tired in any way. So something about it must have been right for me.

So today I swam. Warm up, drills, golf (36 strokes, 33 seconds: 69) then 3 x 120 swim, 80 pull, 80 swim, with ten seconds rest.

Then, the fabled ‘balance of time’ to 55 minutes. It felt really good. And the BoT swim was actually pretty quick. I think I’m getting the hang of the whole swim form thing. Just have to be able to maintain it at speed.

In other news, I’m starting a new job today. Hopefully soon I’ll have the money to sign up for some races!

I still can’t make swimming hard, but I seem to be getting faster. I’ll take that.

day fifty six – tt6

Today was my last TriDot workout.

Had it been not my last workout, I’d have been submitting the time I got to TriDot so I could get a bunch if new data.

As it is, I can’t afford to stay with them any longer, so that was that.

I was reasonably pleased with the time. 17:55 for 5k on a treadmill. I did cheat a bit towards the end, holding myself up on the heart rate monitor bars. I would like to do one outside, just to see how it compares.

Overall, I’m pleased with my TriDot experience. I wish I could stay with them.

But I’m ready to go it alone!

day fifty three – tt4

Fifteen mile bike TT today.

It felt great. I butchered the warm up. But I’ve never really been one for warm ups, anyway.

During the TT, I averaged over 20 mph the whole time. Occasionally it would drop down, but only momentarily, when I was distracted by events in the Ukraine, or Oscar Pistorius’ trial.

I got through it with a combination of low gear, high cadence and high gear grinding: half way between Chrissie and Lance.

And that’s about how I ride on the road, so that was nice. I’m so excited to get out on the roads again soon. I was also pleased with the time. It’s a pretty decent improvement on my last 15 miler.

Only 97 miles to go!