Thursday, March 12, 2009


This week was the beginning of my 12 week Half Ironman training program. The workouts are patterned after my base training workouts from the last two months, so they are easy enough the first few weeks. This week the training schedule called for:

  • Monday, strength training; (done)

  • Tuesday, swim 45 minutes, run 30 minutes; (done)

  • Wednesday, cycling 45 minutes; (done)

  • Thursday, run 45 minutes, swim 30 minutes; (swim done)

  • Friday, cycling 45 minutes;

  • Saturday, run 1 hour; swim 45 minutes;

  • Sunday, cycling 2 hours.

I prefer to do my workouts in the morning, and on the days when I run and swim, I prefer to do the longest one in the morning. That way it doesn't feel like all I do is work out, go to work, work out, come home, eat, get ready for the next day, sleep. (Although that's pretty much it some days!)

The hardest part this week so far has been the running. After last week's vacation time running in the warm weather and sunshine, this week its back to reality: cold, dark, rainy, snowy, blowing, etc.

For Tuesday's short run, I had planned to run outside, and the weather late in the afternoon, although gloomy and drizzly with rain, looked like it might hold out for a short while. No such luck. As soon as I got out of work, it was pouring rain. So back to the treadmill. I did a short speedwork routine, but held steady for the first 20 minutes and managed to get through it mentally. But the cardio room is in the process of updating and still has no air flow or fan to keep it cool, so the temperature is almost always in the upper 70s or almost 80 degrees. Great for heat training, but it is starting to get to me. So my plan was to hopefully get outside for Thursday's 45 min. run.

But Thursday came and it was just too cold for my mind to wrap around getting out there in the dark besides: around 18 degrees, with a windchill of about 6. So I opted for the treadmill, getting up earlier than usual to get to the gym in the hope of getting a treadmill early and then even more hopeful of having time to get in my swim so I had my evening free.

So as soon as I step one foot on the treadmill, bam! A fuse blows before I can even get started. The guy next to me, running about 7 min. miles, about flew off into the wall from the machine stopping so suddenly. I was ticked off because I didn't have any outdoor clothes, and now it meant I would either have to fight for a treadmill after work and sweat to death inside or run out in the cold. I did decide to do my swim, so all was not lost.

All day I watched the weather, hoping against hope I would be able to get outside. The sun came out and stayed out. And with daylight savings, it would still be light until after 7 pm, so unless I wimped out--and I am at the point where I cannot--I would run outside. And like I said, the sun was out, so that was a plus.

I hurried home from work to find Don getting ready to go out to rake in the yard. "Go run with me instead," I urged. So we bundled up in layers, because even with the sun and almost no wind (a rarity) it was still only 25 degrees. (I love how the weather report always says something like: temperature, 25 degrees; feels like 27. I really don't see how if it is 25 degrees and there is no wind it can feel warmer than 25 degrees. Makes no sense to me.)

As usual, when I run after work, my legs feel heavy and I feel out of breath easily. Its just a lot harder for me to run at that time of day. We ran about 3 blocks before getting a red traffic light and I was relieved to stop and catch my breath. Then I suggested we walk for just a minute. We started running again after a brief walk and it was feeling easier. When we came to the next crossing, we again walked momentarily after the light and went on our way. Then as luck would have it for me, Don saw a friend of his outside cleaning up his yard so we stopped again for a couple of minutes to chat and that seemed to pull me out of my slump. After that, I felt pretty good and we continued on until Don started having some problems with his back and he decided he was going to walk back home. I walked with him for a minute and then went on my way.

Remarkably, I found myself pushing along without wanting to stop. I don't know what it was but I continued on for the full 45 minutes of the scheduled run as well as a few more minutes to make up for the walk breaks and felt like I could have gone on longer. I even ran up a hill without stopping and picked up the pace for the last couple of blocks, something I haven't felt like doing in longer than I can remember.

Maybe it was being able to run more frequently last week, maybe it was the fairly mild, if not cold, weather, or maybe that heart rate training I have been doing for the last 3 months is finally paying off. Whatever it is, I felt great.

When I got in the house, my cheeks were bright red from the cold, but I can't remember when I've had a more enjoyable run!

The next challenge now is that most of my bike training over the next 12 weeks is more than likely going to be done on the trainer. We have a small window of opportunity this Sunday for an almost 50 degree day, so if it comes to that, and the winds are down, I will attempt to get outside Sunday. Otherwise, if I'm confined to the house, I have gone ahead and purchased a Spinerval DVD, Hardcore, a 3-disc set with up to 5 hours of training. Five hours on a trainer right now is mind boggling, but if it gets the job done, that's what I will have to do.

Hope everyone has great weekends planned--workouts or maybe celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Enjoy some green beer!


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I'm glad you had an enjoyable run. That's a wonderful thing!!

I don't know how you manage with so much bike trainer time. That would make me crazy. Good luck with that!!

Calyx Meredith said...

Yay for having such a terrific run! Good luck with the upcoming trainer rides. And congrats on starting the new training plan. (I love the beginning of a training plan!)

Marlene said...

Those runs are the BEST! I bet you were glad you got out there. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that the fuse blew.

Lily on the Road said...

hmmmm, green beer!

Good for you to get out in this crazy weather, bet you would have like to stay in Cancun until June!!

I can't believe that poor guy on the trainer beside you...yikes!!!

I bundled up yesterday and ran, but like you, I couldn't catch my breath, so I bailed at 6K! Oh Well....

WADDLER26.2 said...

I just can't run on the treadmill anymore. I have to run outside. Great job getting it done. I love your training schedule. It has begun!

Sunshine said...

What a great run! Good for you.
And how nice that you got Don out for a run with you, too.
Wishing us all a good weekend!

AKA Alice said...

Your runs sound a lot like mine. When I first start, I feel just exhausted. Then if I walk and stretch a little, and start running again, I find my wind.

Glad you had a nice run!

Anne said...

I am an early morning runner/exerciser too. Like you, I just can't develop a rhythm if I run after work. And I don't have 18-degree weather to use as an additional excuse either. Good for you sticking with it.

ShirleyPerly said...

YAY for the good outdoor run!!

That fuse blowing out is really scary. I used a treadmill at the gym the other day that was making a really awful noise and wondered whether I should maybe switch.

Hope the weekend goes well for you!

bill carter said...

Congrats on the great run! It only takes one of those every now and then and we understand why we do this to ourselves.

Best of luck with your tri training and glad your off to such a great start.