Wednesday, 23 September 2009
what happened during the great open water swim challenge?!
ok so last weekend training peep paul + i headed down to the lake for a swim. while i’ve had quite a few attempts thus far at overcoming my fear of the open water, paul has not. saturday, was his first ow swim.
as our race next weekend is wetsuit optional, and we’re not optioning, we decided to head to the lake without the wetsuit. good idea at the time, but upon arrival, some regret was edging in.
we arrived just after 7am and the lake was bustling with fellow tri-ers. i couldn’t believe how many people were there, not only in numbers, but also the percentage of them wearing wetsuits! i’d be having a guess, but i’d say... maybe about one hundred percent. damnit.
now we were feeling like total newbies (hey, who are we kidding anyway?)
so we hit the lake. i headed out first, with paul behind, forgetting that he might have a ‘first ow swim panic.’ by the time i hit the 300m buoy he was nowhere to be found, and had turned back early. even after spelling it out the night before in my post, i’d forgotten just how hard that first swim is. even the second, and the third.
open water is difficult. hands down. and swimming in a pool doesn’t prepare you for it.
paul’s morale was shot. not being able to complete the 400m one week before his first tri next week - it hurt. there was talk of not doing it. then talk of going uber slowly and hitting upwards of ten minutes...
luckily soon after we hit the hot tub (yes, thank you hot tub) we’d met a fellow tri-er with coaching experience, who offered to return paul to the murky waters and build his confidence. this, she did, and it helped.
soon after, i headed back into the ice blocked lake for another 400m bash, and ended up with a PB!
my quickest time to date for a 400m is 7mins 25secs.
this time, i hit 7mins!
so i was pretty excited about this, and was feeling rather chuffed with a few ‘well done’s’ from the tub of tri-ers (god did i just write that?) unfortunately i later learned they’d moved one of the buoys so it is a bit short of 400m, but i’m still hanging on to the PB :)
(really wish these events/races/training grounds would sort out their distances. like how hard is it to get right??)
but most importantly, the swim felt good. the cold was cold, but bearable. the water was murky, but i didn’t freak out. i actually felt as though maybe, just maybe, i’m getting comfortable with ow.
okay enough back patting - so - it’s four days until Hever Triathlon. i’m feeling sooo uber relaxed about it, which is rather surprising but also quite welcoming! to be honest i do feel a little aimless, so i’m throwing a few on the proverbial table;
1. run faster! i want to sub 20 on that 4k. please please please. i’ve worked *hard* legs. please reward me!
2. swim a PB. i haven’t worked as hard as running, but i’ve worked. PB please.
3. cycle fast. i haven’t done any cycle speed work but i have to write this because i’ve done it for the other two. which makes me realise i need to work on cycle speed. (realisation: i may not cycle faster)
4. enjoy racing with my parents in the crowd! they’re visiting from australia, and this will be the first time they see me race. i’d like to enjoy it enough to show them why i’m up at 5am most mornings.
and quickly - my totals for last week!
monday> 45 minute hilly fartlek run
wednesday> 25 minute run, 400 metre open water swim (80%)
thursday> 400 metre open water swim (race pace)
friday> 3km run fartlek
saturday> 2 x 400 metre open water swim
sunday> 250 metre open water swim
monday> 30 mile cycle
and from last monday's 30 mile ride, here's a pic of my final destination; a beautiful castle in Devon!
(the next post will be the race report, fingers crossed!)
Friday, 18 September 2009
okay, so let’s be honest, i have a slight fish phobia.
i’ve been known to do cartoon-like leaps back into the boat when snorkeling. what can i say, they get a bit close sometimes... and there’s something about those fish, something a bit... evil.
as a result, my open water experience has been limited. i’m afraid of fish, i don’t like waves, and swimming face first into deep blue (indeed deep brown) isn’t overly attractive. no surprises there.
however i learnt something from doing London, my first open water swim race. unfortunately it was recorded on these pages and hence my failing memory can not deny...
if you’re going to race open water, you have to train open water
these past few weeks have seen me in sunny, oceanside locations. the perfect hunting ground for the open water (ow) seeker. i’ve even got an ow race next weekend; so you’d think i’d be the first one heading out into the clear blue waters.
to be honest, it hasn’t been until week three, this week, when i’ve managed to get into the ocean for a ‘proper’ swim (bobbing not included). and while i was rather proud of overcoming my fish/deep blue fears and getting three separate 400m swims in -> in all honesty it’s a rather pathetic blip of a training exercise.
in reflection, i realise that i wasn’t training for speed, or endurance, or technique -- i was really just overcoming my fears and getting comfortable staring at something other than a black line in the cocoon-like safety of the lane ropes.
i was, essentially, overcoming the mammoth task of extending myself physically under a mentally stressed state.
i’ve been pool lap swimming for about eight years, and i’ve never experienced a calf cramp. a few toes, sure, but that’s it. yet within 400 metres of ow swimming during London, my calf was borderline seizure.
i believe it was a combination of things;
-- stress (tensing the body unnecessarily)
-- cold (our wave was delayed, more time unmoving in water)
-- inexperience (kicking too much and a lack of cold water experience)
tomorrow i’m taking the plunge (apologies for lame pun attempt) and heading out to a tri specific ow lake. didn’t know such things existed?! neither did i! apparently it’s just a normal lake, but with dedicated distance markers. so no more guessing you’ve done 400m. they also offer things like wetsuit testing, which comes in handy when you’re dropping a few hundred quid and your wetsuit can make+break your times.
now that i’m feeling a little more comfortable in ow, i’m hoping to have a proper training session. warm ups, timed sprints, even warm downs! success pending, report coming.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
i’m in santorini, one of the greek islands, and it’s stunning.
i awoke this morning pre-dawn, and waited for the sun to rise for a run. here’s my running shoes saying hello to the sunrise.
(and yes, that’s the view from our suite!)
as i was putting my shoes on, i could hear loud banging pops. sounded vaguely like gunfire, but this is paradise. more likely to be some old greek lady’s rustic wood fire oven backfiring.
so i headed out, destination; the lighthouse on the end of the island.
everything was going well, knee a little sore but hey, she’ll work her way out. as i continued, however, i noticed those bangs were getting louder. and louder.
then, to my right, i notice a guy wearing camouflage crouching by the side of the road, surrounded by vine leaves. and a dog. and a gun. a really big gun. which he then fires.
i’m feeling a little nervous by my proximity to the gunfire, but i can see him, he’s now seen me, and that’s okay.
so i continue to the lighthouse. i pass the chickens. i turn around, back towards breakfast.
then, as i’m passing the same spot where previous gunman was, i notice that on the other side of the road, there’s another one. and then i really start looking around into the surrounding hills and notice there’s a whole bunch of men with stupidly big guns. shooting them, with relative consistency.
i’m freaking out a little bit. okay, i’m freaking out enough to stop running. i figure my little head bobbing up along the road could resemble a deer (are they even shooting deer?) one of the hunters dogs starts running after me. i beeline towards a scalable wall and he calls him back. phew.
one of the hunters crosses the road and gets into a jeep in front of me, his shotgun slung over his shoulder. and i think, i’m a little vulnerable right now. so i keep walking, but no deer-like-running.
finally i pass all visible shooters, and off i go again. i get back, breakfast is being served, and i feel like i’m a long way from the serenity of the picture i took during sunrise. but i’m seconding a notion i’ve stated here previously; running when traveling really does give you a different view on things. even when it does involve shotguns :)
before i run off; here's my totals for this week;
monday; 1hr cycling timed sprints, 30 minute swim
tuesday; 20 minute swim
wedsneday; 2 x 18 minute cycles, 30 minute swim
thursday; 20 minute bike weights routine, 20 minute swim
saturday; 30 minute hilly run (sprint/walk)
sunday; 15 minute swim, incl. 350 metre open water swim
2 weeks until Hever Sprint Triathlon!
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
“if you’re... trying to get to the next level, surround yourself with people who keep you motivated and energized - people who inspire you to achieve your best every day. when you do this, you can’t lose.”
(anthony famiglietti, olympian)
“advice from the worlds best runners;
it’s inevitable that things will nag at you, but it’s pointless to obsess about minor pain. my philosophy; if i’m not limping, i don’t worry about it.”
(tim nelson, cross country u.s. champion)
“destination races give you a reason to travel; and months of motivation.
find someplace you’ve always wanted to go and see when they have a race you’re interested in. italy, france, timbuktu or cleveland. once you have that goal, every mile of training will take you just a little closer to it. every step shortens the distance between you and your dream.”
two. less than three weeks until Hever Sprint Triathlon. it's time for those projections.
haven’t managed to drop my sprint times yet. something to work on.
distance; 400m open water
estimated time; 7 minutes 45 seconds
ideal time; sub 7 minutes 30 seconds
have just got my bike computer, so still coming to terms with my average times. but here’s a stab.
estimated time; 40 minutes?
ideal time; sub 38 minutes?
bit of a wild card. based on london tri i’ve got an estimated time but that pace was a pretty considerable PB. not sure if i can trump it again. feeling good, but who knows?
estimated time; 21 minutes
ideal time; sub 20 minutes
estimated total time, minus transitions; 1 hr 9 minutes
estimated total time, with transitions; 1 hr, 13 minutes
oh-my-god-can’t-believe-i-did-that-time, with transitions; 1 hr 8 minutes
and weirdly, i'm not feeling those pangs of nervous anticipation. before London i had 204 questions/concerns/anxieties but this time around, i'm just ready to get on with it. nice feeling, hello, please don't abandon me :)
Friday, 4 September 2009
i'm feeling the joy of the run this week. it's rare. let's embrace it.
dave letterman style, here's my top 10 favourite things about running;
10. putting new songs on my running playlist. makes me want to run immediately. when the song comes on during the run, i smile and nod my head like a little bit of a loser. when the song comes on during a non-running moment, i feel the need to tell the nearest person "this is on my running playlist." they don't care, ever, but i feel the need to share.
9. shopping for new running tops/pants/bras/socks. i even like getting into the tiny change room and practice running in the mirror to check everything works. the choice of pink over blue might just inspire me to run faster. that special nike fabric definitely will.
8. eating whatever for the rest of the day after a morning run and feeling good about whatever hits my belly. i deserved it all. i ran hard.
7. having a cold shower afterwards, and instead of using the time to relax, start stretching. always multi-tasking.
6. hobbling a little the next day and being a little bit satisfied when someone queries the hobble and gives me an excuse to gloat over the kms i've clocked. sometimes the 6.8km run turns into a 7km run. who understands points of kms anyways?
5. thinking in terms of 'can i run there' whenever sometime suggests a meeting spot. if it's too far, it turns into a 'can i bike there.' rarely does this turn into 'can i swim there.'
4. bringing forward the cooling down point during the run. no matter where it is, i'll always find a range of completely viable reasons to stop running sooner. i always feel good about this, like i've cheated that crazy running side of myself and won.
3. running for runnings sake. no time, no route, no plan. i need this to maintain running sanity.
2. hitting the pavement with only a pair of sneakers. you don't need any equipment, nothing, it's like your own little traveling gym.
1. and the number one favourite thing about running; is when i've been out on a hard run, and that moment, when i stop.
so what have i done this week? ha! can you guess?
monday > rest
tuesday > 4.5km run, 15 minute swim drills
wednesday > 9km cycle, 1 hr spinning, 30 min weights
thursday > rest
friday > 7km run - sprint/walk intervals
saturday > 3km run
i've got three weeks until the Hever sprint tri, and i'm really looking forward to it. it's the first year they've run it, and it's in a ye olde english castle. here's a pic of the open water swim locale (not sure who these people are, if this year is the first?)
they're really into their medieval stuff out there, and have a few too many pictures of jousting on the website. not quite tapping into the usual triathlon vibe with these kinds of images;
as long as i don't have to fight off any merry men i'll be able to cope with a little ye olde theme :) next week i'll get stuck into some time predictions. until then, back to the UK and see if all this humidity running training has worked wonders (miracles)!