Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year In Review

2010 is coming to a close and I thought I would review my year. 

1.  Ran 2 marathons in 2010 - the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10 and the Kenosha Marathon on 5/1/10.

2.  Ran 9 New York Road Runners races (NYRR) and volunteered for one, which will give me an automatic entry into the 2011 NYC Marathon under the 9+1 program.  Also ran in the JP Morgan Corporate challenge.

3.  Completed 2 triathlons (both sprint triathlons).  This was a major accomplishment for me, as I didn't own a road bike until June 2010 and hadn't gone swimming since high school.

4.  Healthwise, I had a great year.  No illnesses (other than a few minor colds) and no fevers.  No major Crohn's Disease flare-ups and no hospitalizations.  Last hospitalization was on 12/31/09 when a capsule I took (with a camera in it to take pictures of my small intestine) for a routine test got stuck in my small intestine, causing a full small bowel obstruction.  Luckily, the doctors were able to get it out without major surgery.

5.  I averaged 4.89 workouts per week (259 days), which exceeded my goal of 4.50 times per week.   I have been tracking my workouts since 2000 in an excel spreadsheet, and my previous record was 4.44 times per week in 2002. 

6.  I ran 1,335 miles in 2010, an average of 25 miles per week. 

7.  My year end weight was 197 (with a low of 192 and a high of 201 during the year).  However, my waist size was down to 34 at year end (from 38 in 2009).  For almost the entire year, my weight was between 195-197.  I hardly ever weigh myself, as I can usually tell where my weight is by how my clothes fit.

8.  Overall, I'm proud of the year I had.  I was able to maintain a high level of fitness all year and I became a more experienced runner.  I learned that I can't run more than 4-5 days per week and expect to stay healthy.  I decided to do triathlons to take advantage of its cross training benefits.  This way, I run less and keep my body healthier by biking and swimming, both of which are much lower impact on my body.  When I became a distance marathon runner, I used to believe that more mileage is better.  I now believe that less is more, and in the future, I will train with a focus on the duration of each of my workouts, not distance.
Here were my 2010 Goals that I created at the beginning of the year and what I actually did (highlighted in yellow).  As I look back, some of the goals I set seem crazy to me today.

Goal - Average running 4.5 days per week for 2010 (worked out an average of 4.38 times per week in 2009 – started running in July 2009)

Result - Goal Achieved!  I averaged 4.89 workouts per week.  When I set this goal, I expected only to run to achieve this goal.  By year end, I realized that I could not sustain running this much, which is why I started cross training.

Goal - Run 1,404 miles for the year (average 27 miles per week for 52 weeks)

Result - Fell short, coming in at 1,335 miles (25 miles per week).  I will never set an annual mileage goal again.  In the future, I will stick to weekly workout goals (and perhaps duration goals)

Goal - Run a 5k race in under 7:00 per mile pace (haven’t run a 5k yet)

Result - I didn't run a 5-k race in 2010.  I did run a 3.5 mile race in 7:12 per mile but frankly I just wasn't healthy enough to go all out in a race.  Still hope to get there in the future

Goal - Run a 4/5 mile race in under 7:05 per mile pace

Result - fell short, running a 4 mile race on 2/7/2010 at a 7:11 pace

Run a 10k race under 7:25 per mile (ran 7:39 per mile on 12/6/2009, my first and only 10-K run to date)

Result - not achieved -  I only ran one 10-k this year, and I decided to run it at the end of a 10 mile training run, so I ran it very easy (8:36 per mile)

Run a half marathon at under 8:00 per mile pace

Result - I didn't run a half marathon in 2010

Run a full marathon at under at 8:40 per mile pace

Result - fell short, ran Chicago in 3:56 (a 9:01 pace)

Run a 1 mile race under 6:30 per mile (I haven’t run a mile race since I was 12 years old, which I think I ran in 8:28 per mile)

Result - I didn't run a 1 mile race this year, as I wasn't healthy enough to go all out in a 1 mile race.  Still shooting to achieve this goal in the future

Goal - Get weight down to 189 or less (currently 192)

Result - Not achieved!  I was around 196 for the Chicago Marathon and went up to 201 when I took 5 weeks off from running in November 2010.  I was 197 at the end of 2010.  I need to improve my nutrition!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Swim Swim Swim

It's been a while since I've posted an update.  In my last blog post, I decided to shut down my running and biking to help my right shin splint heal.  My goal was to take 6 weeks off from running and 4 weeks from cycling, replacing it entirely with swimming. 

Taking time off from exercising is MUCH, MUCH harder for me than exercising.  I need to exercise at least 5 days a week to feel healthy and happy.  I've been exercising 4-5 days a week regularly for 20+ years.  My ultimate goal is the Ironman in 2011, so now is the time to take it easy. 

So, I only exercised 3 times over the the first 2 weeks of my running and biking hiatus, and by the end of that second week, all of the bad symptoms that I experienced before I became a runner came back.  I felt tired and fatigued.  My body felt inflammatory.  My right side felt week, my right eye twitching came back, and I felt "off my game". My weight went up to 201 pounds from my marathon training weight of 193-195. I lost a belt buckle loop.  Say goodbye to my marathon fitness level. I'll have to get over the hump again.


I knew I couldn't run or bike yet, so I decided to turn up my swimming, working out in the pool 6 of the next 8 days, swimming at least 45 minutes and sometimes as long as 64 minutes (1.5 miles in this case).  I have NEVER been a swimmer.  I wasn't on any swim team growing up (although I was a lifeguard, as I could pass the sprint swim tests).  Prior to becoming an triathlete in July 2010, I never even worked out in a pool (and despite being in marathon shape I could only swim 8 lengths because my form was so inefficient).  My technique is sub-par, and that's putting it mildly.  I went swimming with my friend MH, a great athlete, a triathlete, and high school swimmer, and he had me do a kick board drill, extending my arms out holding onto the kick board while kicking my legs.  I'm not joking when I say that I was barely moving forward at all.  In fact, for 30 seconds I don't think I moved forward at all.  No kidding.  He was on the side of the pool and I must say that I was embarrassed.  No question that I have a weakness in my kick.  Well, enough about my horrible swimming skills and form.  Swimming 6 of 8 days was a serious accomplishment for me, as my motivation to go swimming is very low because I'm not a good swimmer (although I do listen to music when I swim which definitely helps and is relaxing).  Over these 6 workouts, I improved my mile time in the swim to a best of 38 minutes and felt like I was becoming a little faster (typically it takes me 42-44 minutes to swim a mile in a pool and my half mile swim splits for the 2 triathlons that I did last year were both 22 minutes (on pace for a 44 minute mile).  I'm slow, although I know that I could swim faster than a 38 minute mile, but then I would be totally dead and wouldn't have any energy left for the bike or the run!  For the first time in my life, I did a swim speed workout, consisting of 12x100 yards, with a 20 second break in between each 100 yard workout. I definitely was faster than normal in each 100 and am feeling myself becoming a stronger swimmer.  For me, 60 minutes seems to be the right amount of time for me to feel like I got a good workout in.

Checking myself

So how long did I take off from running and biking.  How did I do against my goals?

Running - Took 5 weeks off (first run was on 11/26/10).  No pain in the shin whatsoever during the run, but still some twinging in the shin when not running.  Since then, I've only been running 2 days a week, as my shin continues to twinge a little bit after my runs (but never during). 

Biking - took about 4 weeks off. 

Also did acupuncture twice, which definitely helped heal my shin quicker.  Plus, given my Crohn's, I get abnormal swelling around the shin splint area.  I find that ice helps to reduce that swelling greatly, so I have been heavily icing my leg (Anastasia, my acupuncturist, wouldn't be happy with my icing!)

Ironman Training

I'm not training for anything right now, just trying to stay fit and healthy.  I have decided to start my Ironman Training on 2/1/11, following at 30 week training program in Don Fink's book called "Be Iron Fit" (I'll follow his intermediate program).  I'd like to go into my Ironman training with a solid base of fitness.  I plan on following a strict heart rate zone Ironman training plan and will base my workouts on the duration of my workouts, not on distance.  I plan on doing a weekly writeup of my Ironman training during my training.  I also signed up for the Rev 3 Half Ironman on 6/5/11, which I am excited about.  This was the site of my first triathlon, a sprint, and is one of the hilliest tris in the world (which I need because Ironman Canada is extremely hilly).  Ironman Canada is on 8/28/11.

Here is a summary of my workouts since the Chicago Marathon:

10/17/10 - 2 workouts (2 runs - 4.4 and 5 miles)

10/24/10 - 1 workout (1 run, 5 miles) - right shin sore

10/31/10 - 4 workouts (4 rides on my trainer) - right shin sore after my rides, never during

11/7/10  - 1 workout (swim, 36 minutes) - very careful not to push off the wall hard to keep shin healthy

11/14/10 - 2 workouts (2 swims, 41 and 49 minutes).  Weight 201.  Lost a belt buckle loop.

11/21/10 -  5 workouts (5 swims)

11/28/10 - 7 workouts (3 runs, 2 rides on my trainer, 2 swims) - first run and first ride in weeks

12/5/10 - 5 workouts (2 runs, 2 swims, 1 spin class)

12/12/10 -  5 workouts (2 runs, 2 spins, 1 swim)

12/19/10 -  5 workouts (2 runs, 3 rides (2 on trainer, one on spin bike at the gym).  Weight 198-199.  I've gained my belt buckle loop back!

All of my runs above were done on the bridal path, not pavement

I took a few pictures while running in Central Park after my 5 weeks off.  It was a bummer to miss the fall season and to not be able to run in the Park before the NYC marathon, which is always fun.

From December 14, 2010

November 28, 2010