Today's swim training session was so much better then yesterday's so I blame the party the night before more then anything else and that leads me to another lesson I have learned on this journey.
I have said multiple times that this is a lifestyle change and a choice that I made. I made the choice to not just compete at 70.3 and 140.6 but I have this theory that I want to live forever. Of course nobody does but that is my goal and the only way to do that is to live a healthy lifestyle and one that has balance. Life is not easy and nobody ever said it was but balancing work and play will lead to a very rewarding life.
So while I fully enjoyed my time with my friends and having some beer and cake (too much cake) I realized that the training the next day was hard, and it was supposed to be hard, but I did not realize that it could have been the late night and early wake up call to get in the pool. It affected me more then I thought it would.
Today's session I warmed up with 2x50, then into the pyramid of long easy sets starting with 400 and down to 100 and then back up. I finished up with 2x50 cool down and 10 minutes in the jacuzzi to relax my muscles.
I did all the sets with 1:30 RI and never wavered unlike yesterday when I stopped after 100 of my 1st 300 set. I defeated myself before I could ever get going and while I pushed through it and convinced my mind that it was not a big deal today was so much better and different.
I never once felt like stopping. At one point during the 2nd 200 I said to myself and this pace and this rate I could do the 400 now and keep doing 400s it felt so smooth and relatively easy. I didn't care how fast I was going just cared about technique.
I tried to swim with the idea of sculls in my head plus watching a video of hand entrance on the catch. I noticed that the hand was turned with the thumbs toward the water as they entered and then elongated in from about 3-5" from the top of the water before the pull. I realized that this is like the scull in making figure 8s and when I tried I seemed to move through the water faster. I did not do it on every stroke but it was something that I noticed helped my technique and essentially my speed even though I wasn't looking for that.
Another way I helped my technique was by looking forward. In the open water you have to sight to make sure you are on course. I was not doing a sighting drill but I kept my head forward during the swim to engage my neck muscles and to help build up strength there so when I do the sighting drills mhy neck won't be sore from lifting my head.
One other drill I did but only during the warm-up was bi-lateral breathing. Not every three strokes but I swam 25 with my head turning to the left then the next 25 with my head turning exclusively to the right. It was more difficult then I could have imagined and most likely b/c I have been swimming for 6 weeks to one side (left only.) I need to improve my bi-lateral swimming for the open water b/c you never know who/what is going to be on one side causing massive waves that you could end up swallowing.
I watched a guy in the water today after my swim. He was excellent in his form and technique. He breathed every three strokes in a bi-lateral way and it seemed that on the breath he slowed his motion down and glided to get the most air into his lungs. I love watching swimmers that are better then me so that I can 'steal' there techniques and form so that I can improve and get better at swimming.
Now it is back to the grindstone and the upfront. Hopefully we are able to get things done today b/c I have a board meeting tomorrow evening coupled with a trip over this weekend that I would like to go on and most importantly we have been negotiating for two weeks now and it seems to be at the point where we are the finish line we just have to cross it.
Yesterday afternoon while Karen and I did absolutely nothing I watched the Ford Ironman Championships from Clearwater, FL. I literally got goosebumps watching the pro athletes and also the stories of the age groupers were awesome.
I could not watch enough of it. I was like a head football coach dissecting techniques trying to pick up little things that the pros do that can help me perform at my best.
I noticed that there are volunteers for everything. People who take your bike for you at the end of the ride, people who it seems hand you your helmet as they also help you pull of the wetsuit. I had no idea but that obviously saves you time in T1 and T2.
I watched how they ran, how they rode and tried to get a fix on the swim and how hectic it is at the beginning. I noticed that the swim for the age groupers is a drop in similar to what we do in the pool, at least for this event but I'm not sure about CA and will have to find out.
One person that the piece was on was Rocco DiSpirito. He is a celebrity chef from NY and had his own show for a bit awhile ago. I came to dislike Rocco as the TV personality since I do not know the man personally. Watching him during this Ironman made me want to be better then him and his time. I looked it up and he finished in 6h6m. Not a bad time at all but I think I can beat it.
I am definitely going to forget about his time by the time the race roll around and not mention I am on a different course under different circumstances so beating him is nothing more then a way to get myself fired up for training. This race is not a race against Rocco but for me to prove that one year of training will get me into the best shape possible to not just cross that finish line but to cross that finish line with arms up high and a smile on my face.
I called my mother this weekend and left her a message that I thought it would be great to have her and Bill out there with Karen, Barbara and Mari. This is going to be a great accomplishment and the more people I have there to celebrate and push me on the better.
Until tomorrow folks always remember to tri but more importantly have FUN!!!!!