Thursday, September 27, 2007

Swim Team Update

I've decided to stick with masters. I think a coach and a team is better than a book, and the fact is I swim more and harder when someone is pushing me! I swam 1200 yards today, the most ever. He wanted us to push harder with our arms so they'd really get exhausted - he feels that building strength is the best way to get better and faster. There was a woman swimming next to me who barely kicked at all and was zooming twice as fast as I was, seemingly effortlessly - I asked him why and he said she must be very strong. But she was also rotating quite a bit, and her whole body rotated as a piece - hips and shoulder together. From everything I've read in TI, that seems to be very important, but I find it hard to rotate doing things the way he teaches. On the other hand a friend of mine said my stroke looks much better than it did before! I did get into a good groove by the end, feeling like I was really stretching and reaching, but in general it feels like it will take a long time to get the hang of this!

Meanwhile my window-shopping with my gift-certificate is quite enjoyable! I can't afford a garmin or fancy HRM, but I could probably get the little water bottle belt Lisa recommends, and some winter running tights, for my $75! Now if anyone wants to give me a gift certificate to Road Runner Sports I have a LONG list of things I'd get from them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey it's my birthday!

And how far have I come this year! Last year at this time, becoming a triathlete was just a distant dream! My family takes it seriously too - my daughters were so tickled to present me with a gift certificate to as my gift (chosen by my ever-supportive husband!) I've been happily browsing - hard to decide between a new heart rate monitor, some winter running tights, or some other fun goody!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Four mile run

It was on the rail trail, so it was flat, but that didn't make it easy. In fact it is not exactly flat - it has about a 3% grade, so for the first two miles I felt GREAT - fast, strong - did it in under 11 minute miles - which is really fast for me. The 2nd two miles, on the other hand, I had to really work. But I did. I finished the whole thing (4.4 miles, actually) in about 53 minutes. (I walked for a minute or so every mile, and at the last half-mile too.) This is big progress from the runs I'd been doing most of the summer, where I ran 4 minutes, walked one. My next challenge is to do a run tha tfar in the "real world" - where there are hills! I know I can, it's just a matter of giving myself that full amount of time - hard to block out that much on a weekday. I also want to get a different water carrying device - I have a bottle that straps on over my butt but it bounces annoyingly - but going that far without water is very uncomfortable. Maybe those belts with lots of little bottles? They just look so dumb in the store! Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dilemma - advice from my triathloning friends?

So I went to my first Master's swim session tonight. I'd been concerned that the coach would not be supportive of the Total Immersion style, which I've been working so hard on for many months. Indeed the first thing I saw was that he had kickboards and leg floaty things set up for each swimmer. The assigned drills included quite a bit of use of both. He took one look at the way I swim and told me I was doing everything wrong: that I should extend my arm farther before entering the water (as opposed to the TI entry at the goggle line), that I should hold my head up so I look forward at a 45 degree angle (rather than straight down) and that I shouldn't rotate my hips - the very opposite of the TI style which is predicated on rotation. I briefly described the TI approach to him and he laughed it off, saying he'd never heard of it and "Micheal Phelps doesn't swim that way, nobody does in the competitive world."

So it's a bird in the hand dilemma - I can't do both, as it's all about muscle memory and practice, so I either stick with TI and practice on my own, taking a lesson every six months or so when I have the time and money, or go with the traditional, old-school swim team approach where I can get ongoing coaching. (Or keep going to the sessions but just do my own thing - seems kind of obnoxious to do that.) I've arranged my whole schedule to have Thursday nights available for this.

I'll add that I've really not mastered the TI thing - it's still laborious and VERY slow (the old and heavyset woman next to me was going at twice my pace), and he was probably quite right when he observed that my body was sort of flip-flopping (I think it's called fishtailing?) and not gliding straight.

I'm really not sure what would be a) best for my swim technique and thus my triathlon career, b) best for my fitness and c) best for my mental health (to get - or give up - a night out!)

Advice anyone?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Interesting fact

Did you know that if you do something regularly, with effort and intention, you get better at it? I have just discovered this fascinating fact! For lo these many months, I'd believed that 'my body isn't made for running" - that my weight, my knees, my feet, all made it better if I only run every 5 or 6 days at most, because otherwise I'd hurt myself, overstrain, etc. This week, for various reasons, I ran a hard. fast (for me)flat 30 minutes on Wednesday, a long and hilly 35 minutes on Thursday, and a rolling 45 minutes on Saturday. Three runs in four days. And felt GREAT - stronger and faster than I have in a long time! And did a hard hour-long bike ride today, feeling fine all the while (I have another hour to go to get home from here, if I can fix a cleat problem with no tools. If I can't I have to get my husband to pick me up!)

Just thought I'd share!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Still here, still chugging!

I think the fall weather is inspiring. I've gotten into some great new routines, and have a great new workout schedule: Monday morning swim. Tuesday morning spin. Wednesday and Thursday, run (while my daughter is at Soccer practice.)I can do sprints and speed work on the rail trail, or run hills - whichever I need.

Also Thursdays, swim at the new Master's club that is starting - very excited about this. Friday - depends on how many days in a row I've worked out - if I need a rest day. Saturday / Sunday - one long run, one bike ride. Plus I have a new weight training routine to do 4 days a week, at home. I've restarted my modified South Beach diet (and have lost about 2 pounds this week, with a goal of something like 10 more pounds by spring for a total of 40) - for some reason I find fall an easier time to eat less and exercise more. Maybe the ice cream and the cold beer isn't so tempting when the temperature drops (and those fall clothes are motivating too.)

So - I think my triathlon season is over. I had one tentatively planned for Sunday but my swim panic is still inhibiting me - last time I went out I had a real panic attack. So I'm going to look for a 5k to do and try to focus on speed, and do the Master's swim thing to improve my stroke and confidence. (Maybe try some hypnotism too.) For next year I'm considering the following goals: a faster sprint tri (or three,) a 10k run, and if those go well, think about a half-marathon next October. Maybe an Oly, but maybe not til 2009.

Meanwhile, I'll redesign the blog, write a mission statement and/or 92 interesting things about me, and all the other fun things people do on their blogs, and keep on chugging on this journey I've been enjoying so much!