November 2007 Archives

One!

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Monday was the start of round two of the benchmarking sets. Again, the main set was:
100m timed
3 minutes rest
100m stroke count
3 minutes rest

This was repeated twice, for two different strokes.

Like last time, I opted for free then breast stroke. Unfortunately, my times did not stack up too well against last time. Again, my 100 free was done in 1:25, though my stroke count was a little high. I didn't feel overly winded at the end, which made me think that maybe I did not go hard enough.

I worked a little harder on the 100 breast, but was a bit slower last time, at 1:35.

Today, the test was a timed 200m. Last time I did 200s, the were freestyle, and I came in in 3:08 and 3:11. This time, I reluctantly decided to try to tackle breaststroke.

200m is a long way to go for breaststroke, and if I'd started out with an anaerobic kick, I might never have made it. So I opted for 100m moderate, 50 build, 50 sprint as a basic plan.

On my 4th turn and my final approach, I overglided - I should have put in one more short stroke. I knew it, and the coach pointed it out as soon as I was done. Still, I came in in 3:16.4, which I was thrilled with.

Even better, I just looked up the FINA 2008 world masters qualification times, and the standard for my (still upcoming) age group is 3:17. Hurray!

My seasonal goal, if you remember, was to surpass as many of the qualification times as I could. While the shorter distances have proved daunting so far, I now have one success under my belt. With so much of the training season still ahead of me, the future suddenly looks a bit brighter.

Kindness of Strangers

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My lack of blogging consistency lately is based primarily in the desire to not be negative here. It's cold out, work is tough, and my willpower is somewhere below my all-time high.

Fortunately, some of the feedback I'm getting is helping to put things into perspective. Joe at See Joe Run/See Joe Swim had an excellent comment which helped to put the swim season into perspective. A friend remarked the other day that I must be really pleased with how training was going, as I was getting much stronger. These kinds of things make me pause and think, and that's generally a good thing.

So I haven't run in two weeks. Work, home, and training in general are still progressing and coexisting. This is life, and success and failure aren't measured by mileage or race times.

Life is good.

Weak/Strong

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Thursday's run just didn't happen. I went to work with my bag packed, but never got the chance to break away. It happens. I need to be vigilant and keep my good habits going, but I also need to be laid back enough to accept when my plans get preempted.

We had plans Sunday morning, which meant I had to postpone my run until later in the day. This is always dangerous, as my willpower has always been strongest in the morning. Maybe it's just that my willpower is built on habit. Whatever the case, the run again did not happen. Chalk this one up to me being chicken. After freezing my toes at the Santa Claus parade the night before, I wasn't looking forward to running in the cold. Not looking forward to running is a bad place to be.

This morning's swim involved more speed/pace work. The main set was set up as follows:

300 metre freestyle, taking 10 seconds rest every 50 (on 6:30)
300 metre freestyle, taking 15 seconds rest every 100 (on 6:30)
300 metre freestyle, taking 20 seconds rest every 150 (on 6:30)
100 metre ez
300 metre freestyle

The idea was to hold the same pace that you had managed on the previous 300.

I started out doing around 45 seconds per 50 (maybe a touch slower). This isn't a super fast pace for me (I can do under 1:30/100 when motivated), but it wasn't trivial to maintain, either.

The further I go into swimming, the more I'm missing my endurance. I'm finding that I don't feel as strong or as fit as I did last year. I guess going from 5 days running a week to 2 (oops! zero!!) has some negative effects on my swimming. These days, every time I get in the pool, I find myself withing I ran more (and further!)

The final 300 was obviously the real test. I pulled out the first 100m in around 1:35, which as I say is not fast, but not slow either. I had been hoping to push 3 minutes for the 200m, but I was around 5 seconds too slow to even consider that. At the time, I was thinkng that my 200m PB was close to 3 minutes (it's 3:08, which makes the 1:35 much more respectable).

I wanted to stay close to 3 minutes, but knew it was slipping away. I focused on strong, smooth pulling, and watched the clock at each turn. 150m went by in 2:20, which meant that I would have to sprint all out to have a chance 3 minutes. Obviously, that wasn't happening, and I passed 200m in 3:15.

For some reason, my mental math went away, and I was disappointed with hitting 250m in 4:00 even. Why swimming a 45 second 50 was suddenly bad I don't know now, but at the time, I was unhappy. Well, maybe motivated is the best word. I worked hard to try to close well, but came in at around 4:47.

At the time, I thought I'd slipped well off my usual pace. Looking at my PBs, though:
100m free: 1:21
200m free: 3:08
300m free: 5:25
(400m free: 6:33)
...my splits of 1:35, 3:15 and 4:47 look pretty good (especially for November).

What's important here is that I keep things in perspective. I'm swimming 50% more often than I was this time last year. I'm struggling, but I'm getting stronger. I need the endurance from outside the pool to complement all the work that I'm doing in the pool.

For now, I need to be less hard on myself, and take pride in the fact that I am still active (despite how I sometimes feel). As the winter rolls on, the motivation will start to build, as I look ahead to all of the amazing things that I want to do in 2008.

Reflux Redux

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Sometimes, it's just not your day.

I was keen to put in a good swim on Wednesday. Right from the time my alarm went off, though, it just wasn't my day.

Three years ago, I would have chalked it up to being sick when I woke up with my stomach on fire. Instead, I rolled out of bed, hit the bathroom, and got cozy with a big glass of water and a banana.

In 20 minutes, I was able to eat only a quarter of the banana.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with nothing more serious than acid reflux, and put on medictation. It subsided. For around two years now, I haven't had any problems with it.

Wednesday morning, I woke up with about a 9 severity out of 10. No idea why.

Theoretically, this just means I'm uncomfortable, and shouldn't really impact swimming at all. Alas, this wasn't the case, and I struggled mightily. The workout was an excellent one, with a nice mix of speed. I just could not keep up with it, and was very disappointed.

I haven't had a reoccurrence of the reflux, yet. I guess I'm grateful that I knew what it was this time, and just went about my day as best as I could.

Success, as always, is framed by context.

Identities

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I spent a fair bit of time last week pondering moving to running 3 times a week. I've been running twice a week consistently for a while now (illness notwithstanding), and it felt like I needed a change.

It came down to identity. At twice a week, I'm officially demoted from "I'm a runner" to "I run". The distinction is small, maybe, but it's an identity crisis. So I pondered starting to morph my weekly routine to make room for another run.

The thing is, once I rewrote my identity in terms of triathlon instead of running, the perception changed. If I say "I'm a triathlete in offseason training", suddenly my 5 training sessions a week sound like a lot. It feels like a lot, especially since swimming has been killing me lately.

Monday's swim featured a while mess of reverse IM, and Wednesday's swim was a mix of fly sprinting and general work - strength, technique and speed. I did a short, hard run on Thursday, but even before I ran I was suffering.

It pays to put things into perpective. At this time last year, I was swimming twice a week. At this time 5 years ago, I had not effectively swam in decades. The overall progress level is fantastic, and the transition from twice a week to three times a week should be hard. It should probalby even be about as hard as it has been.

So, with my core muscles and lats aching, I purposefully and willfully took Friday off. So, for one week, I was an offseason triathlete training 4 times a week. This, I can live with.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2007 is the previous archive.

December 2007 is the next archive.

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