Tag Archives: Swim

Race Recap: Ironman Austin 70.3

Austin got added to my schedule late in the game; actually, after I thought my season was already over to be precise. After Whistler I felt strong physically and wasn’t satisfied ending the season on a mediocre (at best) note. I thought about IM Cozumel (THANK GOD I DIDN’T DECIDE TO DO ANOTHER FULL IM) for a few moments, but worried about having another sub par race and decided the cost – both financial and potentially emotional and physical – wasn’t worth it.

Austin was a great compromise for me. I got to extend the season by a couple of months to take advantage of the end of the mild sunny NW season, travel with some great training buddies, see a new place (Austin!), and fingers crossed close the season out feeling positive and ready for rest.

Our pre-race trip was a blast. We drove the course, checked out the lake, SBR-ed a little, laughed a LOT, and generally kept things low-key. Our rental property had tons of chickens and ducks (for eggs), and produce grows there year round to provide for 20 families that are part of the co-op. We took full advantage of the eggs and produce and had a legendary and awesome pre-race meal chef-ed up by G. And then it was race day.

(race recap vid by G – way better than photos!)

Pre-Race

I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off race morning to a HUGE clap of thunder and lightning and sheets of water falling from the sky. Really? Ugh. I reminded myself if anyone could combat water falling from the sky it was us NW ladies and I simply ignored the fact that this day could get ugly.

Our chauffeurs (our men) drove us to the finish line, where we had to catch a shuttle to the swim/T1. Thanks (but not!) to the weather, traffic was backed up for miles, and though we’d left 3 hours to take a 35-minute drive (including the shuttle) and set up transition we only ended up with a few spare minutes to get our tires pumped and evacuate T1.

Swim // 34:47 // 1:48/100 m

I was really nervous about this swim. I always am nervous about every swim. But because of cooler temps and dwindling morning light I hadn’t gotten a solid distance OWS in over 3 weeks.

All that for nothing though, because it was pretty decent. I started out less aggressively than I probably should have, but was only 2 rows back and 5 swimmers right of the main line. The first 400 went from calm (such polite swimmers in Texas!) to a shit show, to calm again, and then I knew I’d be fine. All was smooth and well until the last stretch back in to shore, at which point our very late starting wave (3rd to last or so?) started hitting all of the floaters from earlier waves. Floaters being the people from earlier waves who were stopped to take a break, tread water, and hang on to kayaks. It got rough on the way back trying to manage them, the super speedy swimmers who were passing from the wave after us, and increasingly choppy water.

I continued to work hard and swim up to where my hand touched the ground. As I exited the lake I had no clue what my swim time was and just ran up the chute to the strippers and on to T1. In retrospect:

-I liked the swim course. The buoys were really easy to spot.  The triangle was pretty even and no turns were overly sharp. The water was murky but didn’t feel dirty or dark.

-I should have gone out harder from the start. I never got that OH SHIT I CANT BREATHE panic feeling which means I didn’t swim hard enough. But, I did enjoy having a smooth swim and not having the though of quitting cross my mind. (Yes, during every single swim I think about quitting at least once.) It felt good to be strong for the whole swim and to never fade.

-I know someone has to go last (or near it) but I’ve never encountered so many floundering swimmers. Not even in Boise! It was frustrating knowing that I could have gone faster without having quite a few small delays in getting around people.

T1 // 2:59

The transition area was much larger than I’d anticipated but luckily I knew where my bike was. Unluckily the recent rains had caused Goat Heads to grow everywhere. For those unfamiliar, these prickly bristly little vines are so sharp they rip tires and flat tubes so we were advised to carry out bikes the entire way out of transition. (Yeah yeah, if only I raced Cyclocross I’d be proficient at that).

My transition itself – meaning wetsuit off, run to bike, bike stuff on, wetsuit in bag – was very efficient, but I lost some time trying to carry my bike for sure. And I felt like an idiot. When I got to the mount line I realized I had a Goat Head in my shoe. I ripped my shoe off to get it out and hoped that was the only one.

Bike // 2:43:15 // 20.58 mph

At mile 2 I pulled up on my pedal to climb a tiny incline and my foot went FLYING. My stomach dropped as I thought I was going down, but I regained my balance and pulled over to a dead stop. Mud from the heavy morning rain was stuck in my cleats from running through T1. I did my best to dig it out with my fingernails and though frustrated I felt grateful that I hadn’t flatted like SO SO SO many people I’d already passed. A significant portion of athletes didn’t even make it to mile 2 without flatting from the Goat Heads.

The next 45?ish miles of the bike were frustrating. The pro: I felt like a pro! I was passing EVERYONE (which is what happens when hardly anyone starts later than you, regardless of how fast you actually are). The con: There were people all over the road and in some spots it was really tough to get around them. Like areas that weren’t closed to vehicle traffic or where pavement was poor (which was most of the course).

That said I enjoyed the bike more than I thought I would. The course wasn’t Texas-pretty like I’d expected, and wasn’t as flat as I had in mind either, but it was a new experience to ride hard for the whole leg, knowing that there weren’t climbs to save up for. I have never hit a goal HR for a 70.3 (always a bit low) but in Austin I exceeded it by a few bpm’s and felt strong. I KNEW I wouldn’t blow up.

T2 // 2:58

I was pretty excited to be off the bike by the end and climbed into T2 ready to run. I got a little bit disoriented finding my rack, which is no one’s fault but my own. I had practiced identifying the spot but I guess in the moment I just forgot. I probably lost 30 seconds or so; after making one mistake I slowed down a little to make sure I didn’t make another.

Run // 1:43:14 // 7:54 min/mi

The run was a 3-loop course that in a sick way I sort of looked forward to. A bit boring? Yes. But who is looking at scenery during a 70.3 run? If you are HTFU. A 3-loop course made it easy to break down: Loop 1 – adjust, Loop 2 – hold steady, Loop 3 – push to the end.

As always, the run is a bit of a blur to me. It was great to see my teammates and friends out on the course and I cheered loud every time I saw them. I felt tired the whole time, but solid. The run was quite hilly with hardly a flat section, some trail, and some mud, all quite evident from my huge range in splits from mile to mile. I know I didn’t take in nearly enough calories on the run, which perhaps contributed to my fog.  But my body felt on the borderline of rejection so I stuck to coke and other liquids at every aid station and that got me through.

I’m proud of my run not only because I PR’d it on a not easy course, but because I pushed so hard all day leading up and still stayed strong. There was a walk-worthy hill out there (that we hit 3 times, obvs) but I didn’t… I ran. I told myself all morning that THIS.WAS.IT. and that I should be grateful for being out there. And I gave it my all and really did feel grateful all day long, for a good race, a supportive husband, good friends, and a fun trip.

Overall 5:07:10 // 15th AG

In the end I PR’d by 8:45, after already knocking nearly 9 minutes off my PR on the distance earlier in July. I am thrilled. This was such a better end to the season than fading off post-Whistler and starting a 4-month off-season feeling less than stellar.

Would I recommend Austin 70.3 to others? Yes. I’ve heard mixed reviews from others, but I really enjoyed the race and the course. The more I race this distance the more I realize there is no perfect race; every course leaves more to be desired, the weather is always a factor, and you never know when your wave will start. Austin was a much flatter bike than you’d get anywhere around the NW, but I was pleasantly surprised by the rollers to keep things interesting. The run was tough – but aren’t they all?

Now… To the off-season! (Which I’m already winning at, by the way.)

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Race Recap: Ironman Canada – Swim and T1

THE SWIM – 1:10:55 // 1:40/100 yards

Suiting up!

Suiting up!

Making my way down to the water I wasn’t as nervous as I sometimes am for the swim portion of the day. Things that I think helped contribute to that: I had a solid plan, I had quite a few solid swims in Alta Lake prior to race day, and 2 days before the race I found out that the start was deep and in water. One of my biggest fears had been a shallow water start and having to navigate the first 90 degree turn only a couple hundred yards from shore, so learning that we wouldn’t have to turn for nearly 1/2 mi made me feel much better.

G's IMC Mugshot of the day - Alta Lake

G’s IMC Mugshot of the day – Alta Lake

So, as I mentioned, the swim was a deep water start with the start line running about 200 yards, from the first buoy all the way to shore. It was angled a bit as well, so that no matter where on that line you positioned yourself it would be the same distance to the first orange (turn) buoy. The course was 2-loop, but what made it different from a lot of other 2-loop swims is that swimmers stayed in the water for both loops and only made their way back to shore to finish the leg. Usually 2-loop IM swims have a mid-way check point on the beach where swimmers have to exit, run across a timing mat, then enter the water again for the second lap.

Ironman Canada Whislter Swim

I walked through T1 and was sure to cross the timing mat to turn my chip on. On the beach there were hundreds of athletes milling about nervously, but I got straight into the water. The more time I could just float around and acclimate the better, especially knowing that the water was the perfect temperature and there was no risk of getting cold. I got in a solid warm up with a few short hard strokes and treaded water while Oh Canada played, the pros went off, and AGers started getting into the water. I was surprised how many hung back and stayed on the beach, it was almost like athletes weren’t sure how the start was supposed to work.

Athletes getting ready

Athletes getting ready

My plan was to start a bit off of the buoy line to try to avoid the chaos but also to not get in faster swimmers’ way. Randomly I saw 2 of my teammates that I hadn’t yet spotted that day floating within 10 feet of me. We laughed and joked about how skilled we were at following our race plans; since we all have the same coach we figured she had given us similar instructions on where to start. It was great to have some familiar faces nearby though, and since both teammates are stronger swimmers than I am I felt safe positioning myself right behind them and knowing that I’d have space.

ironmancanadaswimstart

3…2…1… Go Time

The first loop of the swim wasn’t too eventful. It felt very crowded, but there were only a couple of times that I felt held up by the traffic around me. Generally I was able to work hard and keep pushing my effort and pace. The turns were pretty rough and congested, but for how many people were within arms reach (A WHOLE LOT) I feel like the experience was pretty calm.

The second loop of the swim got a little more dicey. Swimmers were much more spread out by that point so there weren’t so many people to be conscious of, but it felt like swimmers began to flail a lot more. The water got more rough and even though there was plenty of open water I got hit quite a few times trying to pass groups or when people wanted to fight over the feet I had found to draft off of. I wonder if the same thing happens in a 2-loop swim when a beach exit midway is required.

The 2nd to last stretch before the turn back to shore I started feeling tightening in my left calf, and then in my right. Cramping doesn’t usually plague me during exercise, but I’ve gotten cramps in my sleep enough to know exactly what was happening. I immediately stopped kicking and tried to keep moving forward using only my upper body in hope that my calves would chill. That did it for a couple hundred yards or so, but as soon as I started working hard again my right calf cramped up as bad as I’ve ever felt it. I tried to swim through but I couldn’t keep my lower half from sinking with how paralyzed I felt. I stopped, sat up for a second, and manually flexed my foot with my hands. The cramps came and went a few times during the rest of the swim but I was able to swim through them and before I knew it I was at the last turn buoy.

The last stretch back to shore was the worst part of the swim, in my opinion. I don’t know if people lost their form because they were tired, or if seeing the beach makes people more competitive with each other, but it was a pretty brutal fight to the finish. I tried not to shy away from faster feet and the advantage of swimming in the pack, but with plenty of space around there were too many errant arms and legs for my liking. It felt chaotic and like there was a lot of panic in peoples’ movements. But finally the water got so dark I couldn’t see a thing, which meant it was shallow enough that sand was getting kicked up. I stood up about 2 strokes too early but quickly made my way out of the water and across the timing mat on the beach.

T1 – 3:21

I got to the wetsuit strippers and felt like there were 1000 of them and 1 of me! I scurried up to 2 guys and they had a hard time but after a few tugs successfully stripped my suit off.

The inside of the tent was extremely dark, and I felt like there was no one there – athletes or volunteers – so I got to work by myself. I threw my suit, cap, and goggles on the ground, dumped my bag and started putting my shoes on when a volunteer asked if I needed help. I told her I only needed help packing up and a couple of moments later I had grabbed my helmet, sunglasses, and was off to find my bike.

Tracks!

Tracks!

The transition area was a little bit clunky in terms of the set up; no fault of IMC but the park was strangely shaped so it was hard to make the best of it. I found my bike with no difficulty though (tip: always walk your race day path through transition a few times before the race!) and made my way out of transition, across train tracks, up a path, and to the main parking lot to mount. As I got on my bike I was so so so glad I had remembered to put it in the small ring, as climbing up the hill to get out of the lot was more of a b*tch than I remembered.

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Sunrise Friday July 20

 

Soon after there was thunder, lightening, and a downpour. But it started out pretty!

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Tri Anniversary #1

This weekend is the one-year anniversary of my relationship with triathlon.

That’s some crazy right there.

I was still limping from Boston. Memorial Day 2011 I bought my first bike. Later that week I registered for TriRock Seattle, an Olympic distance triathlon on July 16. Then I pieced together my own training plan with Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon plan and an intermediate Olympic distance triathlon plan. I needed a goal, and training for a triathlon sounded like a fun.

  • I wish I had written a recap of that first race, because I don’t really remember very much of it.
  • It rained – poured – in the days leading up, but I didn’t even know to be nervous about slick pavement and sharp corners. I was more worried about being cold.
  • In transition I felt lost. I didn’t know what disc wheels or aero helmets were. Why do you need those? I found a friend and was so happy to have someone to talk to.
  • The swim was the least scary part of the day. No near drownings, got a little off-course, but I just swam until I was done.
  • The bike was fine, too. I hit a rogue cone in the road and yelled out an apology to the volunteer. What was I apologizing for? I didn’t put the cone in the road! But I didn’t crash and kept riding.
  • The run a humid mucky muddy swamp. I felt like I was running a 10k through a mud run course. I got passed a lot on the run but the only run that I’ve run harder since was the 12k’s of Christmas. That run effort, or at least how I remember it, was what racing should feel like.
  • I finished in 2:31:29.
  • Then we went to Cactus for brunch. And I was SO sore.
  • A couple of weeks later I started researching Ironman Canada versus Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

It’s sort of strange to think that a year (and change) ago this sport wasn’t part of my life. Running was, and triathlon was an experiment to keep me busy. I started because the training sounded enough like a cross-training boot camp to be fun. I didn’t know from the first moment that it would stick, but by the end of a summer full of mornings in the lake, sweaty red-faced evening runs, and dewy-aired pre-work rides I was most certainly hooked. And a few injuries, one winter, countless days of rain, and many (many, many, many) hours the training is still my favorite part.

Race days are incredible because they’re the culmination of weeks, months, and/or years of effort. I can easily give myself goose bumps just thinking about a race morning or finish line. But can you really measure the amount of effort it takes to get to the water’s edge (start line) in even 17 hours? I want to be able to, but I don’t think I can. It’s so much more than that, especially for those who are racing themselves more than others.

So how will I celebrate my anniversary? I haven’t decided yet. 🙂

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Swim Hunger

I’ve always though it was just me, but I am a hungry hungry hippo after I swim. No matter how hard or easy my workout is from the moment I get out of the pool or lake until the moment I go to sleep I.AM.HUNGRY.

I’ve made up a number of excuses for always feeling starving post swim, including:

  • Maybe you engage more muscles during swimming than other activity so your body needs more nutrients to refuel?
  • I’m a terrible swimmer so I burn 8 million calories trying to stay afloat.
  • Okay maybe I’m not terrible, but very inefficient.
  • I rarely fuel up as well pre-swim in comparison to pre-bike or pre-run, so it’s only a matter of time before I get hungry.
  • It’s mental. Because the whole swimming process takes so many steps (pack bag, get to pool, change clothes, get wet, shower, deal with we belongings, get dressed, sigh) I feel like I deserve a more substantial refuel than I do.

Today Training Peaks’ blog posted an entry called Why Swimming Makes You Want To Eat Your Young. No I don’t have any young, but I know exactly what they mean!

The basic answer is that cold water (pool or lake) triggers our bodies to believe that they are hungry to encourage us to fuel up (gain body fat) to protect us against the cold.  The theory makes sense to me, though I wonder why running or cycling in cold temperatures wouldn’t have the same effect. Thoughts?

I must say though, I’m sad to hear that my swim sessions don’t actually warrant the refuel that I crave!

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Race Recap: Boise 26.3 – Part 2

[Here’s where I tell you this will not be a normal race recap, because nothing about this race was normal. And that’s right. A 26.3]

The start was 30 minutes outside of town, with T1 and T2 being that far apart. You had to arrive by 10:30 to reasonably get everything set in time for T1 close. We arrived at about 9:30 after stopping at every drugstore in the city of Boise to try to find throw-away gloves because I’m insane I like to be prepared. At 9:30 it was dry. At 9:45 it was not dry and it continued to rain pour for the next 3 hours.

When we arrived the air temperature was in the low 40’s with windchill being in the 30’s. The water temperature was about 57 degrees. The wind was increasing and with 30 minutes until the pro’s wave start Ironman officials announced that the bike would be rerouted and (severely) cut to 12mi due to high winds and risk of hypothermia. Hence the 26.3 title. I didn’t see a single person who wasn’t visibly shivering by the time we were herded to the water, but nothing can tell the story about how we all felt better than this video that Garth took. Brutal.

Waiting to get into the water was more terrifying than anything I’ve ever done. In fact, it was so far past terrifying that I almost couldn’t acknowledge that it was happening. I didn’t allow myself to think about the fact that I was expected to swim when I couldn’t even move my fingers enough to cup my hand. But as my wave entered the water I had to acknowledge what was happening around me, and though it sounds dramatic it was pure chaos. Women started panicking, crying, and one tried to flag down a jet ski for rescue BEFORE THE GUN WENT OFF.

As I got further from shore I tried to focus on only myself and my confidence that I’d survive grew, but at the same time the general scene became more grim. I saw at least 6 people pulled from the water, with a few others being questionable rest/rescue missions. Garth saw people coming out of the water on backboards, with plenty of others on stretchers like mummies. The issue with so many rescues was that the traffic increased the wake and noise, so in addition to cold, wind, and panicked swimmers we were having to be conscious of with boats. The swim felt like it lasted an eternity.

The bike felt like it lasted about 10 minutes. The first descent on the bike was frightening. Because athletes knew they wouldn’t have the normal 2.5 hours to make up time everyone who looked even remotely comfortable on a bike gunned it into town and rode all out from the start. A great strategy in theory, but the roads were slick, we had a number of sharp turns to corner, and we were limited to 1/2 a lane in most areas so there were few opportunities to safely pass. I came up right behind a crash that looked gruesome, but I couldn’t stop for fear I’d cause a pile up too. I also had to pull to the side and fix my brakes – a velcro tie had gotten stuck between the pad and wheel – and given the nature of the day I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. And then before I could even drink my water I spotted T2, and we were done.

The run was a non-event after experiencing the first half of the day. The sun came out, we dried, and dare I say it, but I even got sweaty! I wanted to push the run but didn’t know what I’d have in me only having had run a long run of 7 miles prior to the race. My goal was an 8 min average and I came in at an 8:05 min average. I’ve gone back and forth about feeling proud of my run and disappointed (my 8min/mi goal should have been post-56mi ride), but in the end I feel content. The morning took an awful lot out of me, and though the bike was short there’s no doubt that the trauma from earlier had taken a toll.

In the end I finished in 3:13:20, in 10th in my age group.

As with the run, I wouldn’t say I’m proud of my time. But I would say that I’m proud that I had the guts to start and push myself through the challenges of the day. I’m proud that I didn’t have a breakdown during the process and stayed calm and strong. And I’m proud that from the moment I got in the water I never once thought about quitting, but rather focused on getting to the next buoy, and the next, and the next. A swim like this is my biggest fear, and though I didn’t kick its ass I think I showed it who’s boss.

Was there a moment (or many) during which I thought about not starting? Certainly. A significant number of athletes pulled out at the last-minute due to the weather and course. Right before I headed down to the water I gave Garth my morning clothes bag and told him that I didn’t know if I could do it, that I was scared. I was shaking with cold and fear. He knew what I needed, didn’t acknowledge that I had said a word, took my bag, and kept filming.

Truthfully, I don’t know if I mentally committed to getting in the water until I literally set foot in it. But the very act of telling myself that I don’t “have” to do something makes me HAVE.TO.IMMEDIATELY.RIGHT.NOW. I also know that if I have a fear or anxiety I’m better off facing it as soon as I can or it will grow and build. And after all that negotiating with myself a valuable lesson was reaffirmed: That I can do it.

I truly don’t know who had a harder job that day though, me or my #1 fan. He stood in the elements for no reason other than to watch me torture myself, and in the chaos he missed me exiting the water and thought I may not have made it out. That alone would have brought me to tears! Then he had to race back to town, run to the run course, and still managed to spot me, get some video, carry more of my stuff, and stand around while I came to the reality that I was done and it was all over. THANK YOU to my Iron Sherpa for the love, support, and documentation that all Boise survivors can use to prove to friends and family that it really was THAT bad.

So, since I finished a Half Ironman in 3:13:20, do you think that counts as a PR? 🙂

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Race Recap: Boise 70.3 – Part 1

Boise. Where to start. How about before Boise.

Leading up to this race I had a few things on my mind.

1. Swim anxiety. I had a freak out in open water 2 weeks prior to the race, which left me without an ounce of confidence and a boatload of anxiety. I swam every single day in the week leading up to practice warming up – but quickly – and to get more adjusted. But my #1 concern and challenge for this race was a cold rough swim, and I knew enough to know that I should be concerned.

2. Goals. Though there have been some setbacks I’ve been working hard. Like, really hard. I had given all I had to each day in the past few months, but I still didn’t know where I’d net out given my lack of running (7mi max long run). My goal was to push myself to the brink and see what I had, but I really didn’t know where that brink would be.

3. Things started coming together. Despite everything, in the week before the race things started coming together. I usually feel like a slug the week before a race, but this time around I had gotten that out of the way earlier with some heavily stacked training. In the week before Boise I felt abnormally strong, engaged, excited, and powerful. My body started feeling like it knew what to do.

On Thursday morning bright dark and early we packed up the car and hit the road. I was void of usual pre-race bitchiness jitters and was excited to get going and start our journey.

We arrived in Boise, checked into our hotel, and started exploring. Local tri shop to borrow some aquaseal for my wetsuit? Check. Local co-op for fruit, bagels, wine for the Iron Sherpa, and cereal? Check. 5 mile shake out run? Check. Dinner? Check. In bed at 9pm? Check.

Day 2 was similarly uneventful. The expo was small. The athlete briefing was good. I had my usual sandwich for pre-race-day lunch. I packed my transition bags, unpacked them to make sure I did it right, then did it again. I was nervous, but less than normal. We drove part of the bike course and checked my bike. Some nice volunteers helped me rack my bike so it wouldn’t blow away in the wind (my bike is so small the front wheel won’t touch the ground when hanging by the saddle). I felt the lake, it was cold. We were once again in bed by 9pm, even with a noon race start.

Leading up, even since registration, I’ve known that weather is a factor in Boise. It can be sweltering there in June. It can also be freezing. There is usually wind. But usually somewhere in between all of the above and coming from Seattle I’m used to dealing with the elements. But nothing could prepare anyone for the day we had in store on Saturday. And I’m sure that most anyone who reads my silly blog already knows the basics of how the day played out.

(stay tuned for Part 2)

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Swimming Lesson 4

Swimming lesson #4 happened 4 days ago, and though I haven’t swam since I feel like it was a good one. Survey will be in tomorrow after an actual REAL swim.

This week it was just me again, but it felt really productive. The drills are starting to come together more, feel less awkward, and are translating into changes in my swimming. And though I’ve felt like there are positive changes being made it’s lovely to have someone on the sidelines reaffirm that. Swimming is hard in that you really aren’t supposed to see anything other than the bottom of the pool so there’s no way to make sure you aligned other than to feel it. AND, needless to say if you don’t know what you should be feeling that’s sort of difficult impossible.

We worked more on rotation and keeping my core engaged, because when I can pull that off my form clicks together much more effectively. When my core is not engaged first my kicking goes, then my breathing goes, and pretty soon I’m flailing and splashing and being the uncoordinated swimmer of 4 weeks ago. When I can hold it together (+ breathing) my swimming feels different, and though not yet fast it feels like less work. Less work and less effort = good when it’s going to followed by many hours of cycling and running.

Now that I’m starting to feel like I know what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m getting more comfortable doing it, I’m liking this whole swimming thing a lot more. Not that I ever didn’t like it, but when my yardage got kicked up a notch due to my lack of running I did start to dislike the pool (more than) a little. Now that I’m fighting with the water less and am making progress, even if just with drills as measurement, I can more than tolerate it.

Except for when this happens:

But I’m just going to hope that’s an irregular occurrence.

2 more lessons to go!

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Race Envy

It seems that nearly every single person in my RSS and twitter feeds raced this weekend in one form or another. And, following on the amazing heels of the Eugene Marathon (where everyone on this earth PR’d) it seems like most everyone had a pretty darn successful time at it. From Vancouver to Bloomsday to Wildflower to St. George to St. Croix to Rev 3 my feeds are blowing up with congratulatory messages, PR celebrations, and race lessons learned.

Congratulations, Internet friends! Hope you’re celebrating your successes like I celebrated my long ride yesterday. In style. With a beer in the shower.

My love for racing admittedly wanes. I love training hard and on a deadline for a big event, and I can’t help but pour every ounce of myself into it. But when it comes down to race day I have a tendency to feel impartial. At that point the hard work is over, and that makes me anxious. That thing I worked diligently for is almost over, and what if the result doesn’t reflect the heart, soul, and sweat I poured in? Cue nerves. Cue impartial attitude.

But there’s nothing like not being able to race to make you want it, and BAD. In the past month or so I’ve convinced myself that racing is the best thing out there and I cannot wait to feel the adrenaline and leave everything I have out on the course.

With Ironman Canada being at the end of the summer there are a lot of perks – more sunlight for training, more dry riding, and more time for the currently freezing lakes to warm – but the downside is that I’m on a schedule for the next 3 months and I can’t afford to drop a training session for a fun run or local triathlon. I don’t want to exhaust myself, or worse, get injured. And I need to make sure I get in the hours and miles that my training plan says which most races aren’t conducive to.

So until my season is over I will be living vicariously through all of my Internet friends’ chalk full racing schedules of excitement. So please, keep tweeting and blogging and sharing your fantastic results. I’ll track you and cheer you on, and hopefully your inspiring stories keep me amped up for what’s next on my schedule, too.

 

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Swimming Lesson 2

Feeling more inspired from some good weekend training on Sunday night I was excited to get in the pool for lesson #2. I didn’t practice my drills as much last week as I would have liked, but I got in the water twice and really tried to focus on form and take the time I needed to get the job done. Everything is still feeling awkward during the first few tries, but then I remember the basics and each time I’m able to nail the movements more quickly and with less swallowed water.

Tip: Chlorine is not a good hydration method. You heard it here first!

Today we practiced the same drills as last time but then added some single arm swimming. This new single arm move is similar to the torpedo from last week but requires core strength to lead the single arm reach and pull body roll. I’m not supposed to think about it as pull. No pulling!

Another Tip: Muscling through the water does not a good swimmer make.

I have to really think about this one. I wish I could find a video or illustration of someone doing this properly because I can’t picture what it looks like. Strangely enough it feels way smoother than more natural on my uncoordinated and weak side, supposedly because that side isn’t trained to do anything currently. So to get it down I have to practice on my weak side first and then compare to my strong stupid side.

Tip #3: The drill is sort of like this video here, fast forward to 2:06ish and go from there.

My problem is that my body is so accustomed to pulling to get momentum that I’m not using my core to help rotate my body on its axis to get the extra leverage that I need. So, though the video makes it look so easy “get your shoulder out of the water” it’s deceptive, because it should really be coming from the core. And rather than pulling I should be reaching.

Hoping to get more good swimming in this week so that I can practice master this.

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Filed under Swim, Training