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Well, let's just call a spade a spade. The Wildflower kicked my a**! But, I did have fun letting it man handle me. Let me just start by telling you about my trip to Lake San Antonio.

 

I landed in LAX on Friday around midnight after about 15 hours of traveling back to the US from Costa Rica. When I landed I discovered that my bags had not in fact made it back with me. After spending an additional hour filing my lost baggage claim, I made it to my hotel in LA at about 1:30 AM on Saturday. Luckily, I had packed all of my tri gear and gave it to my friend to take seperately along with my bike prior to going to Costa Rica.That proved to be a wise decision.

 

After 4.5 hours of sleep, I woke up and grabbed a nice continental breakfast which was easily the most nourishing meal I'd had in over a week. It was awesome. I also got a bunch of complimentary toileteries from the hotel as all of those were still with my lost luggage. My buddy picked us up along with all of our gear at 7:30 and we headed to the Wildflower.

 

We got to the event around 12:00 and waited a few hours while the Long Course Athletes finished up before we were able to head into the campground. While waiting, we scoped out part of the bike course and it was hilly, but did not seem that treacherous. We then headed into the campground where we met a friendly member, Warren, of the Monterey Tri Club who offered us space with them as the campgrounds were packed. We showed up about a day after everyone else.  

 

Once parked, we got the campsite set up and headed down to packet pick up. Little did I know, you had to walk down the dreaded "Lynch Hill" to get to packet pick up. That hill was steep and it took some effort just to get down the thing! Once down the hill, we found where the party was. The finish line, vendor row, band, food court, registration were all bunched together around the transition area and shore front. I finally felt like I had arrived and started to get excited. We picked up our packets, checked the massive transition area and headed back up Lynch Hill. Did I say that thing was steep?

 

Back at camp we got as much pre-race stuff done as possible. Put on our numbers, checked start times, race rules, dialed in our gear, and started loading up on carbs. All of our neigbors were very friendly and helped us if we had any questions. Kirsten found me and it was great to finally meet my only team mate left. We chatted it up as a bunch of streakers frollicked in the distance. Oh, the memories. We talked for 20 minutes or so about the race and swapped out tips. After that, it got dark quickly and I was able to get to sleep around 8:30. 

 

 

You'll notice I am wearing my glasses. That's because I did not have my contacts as they were in my luggage that was lost. Ahhh. Luckily I packed 1 extra set for race day.

 

Sunday came quick and I woke up at 6:00, grabbed a fiber1 bar and some granola then headed to the transition area. Getting down early was a smart idea and I was able to get my transition dialed and my body marking taken care of before it got super busy. With around 3,000 athletes, its a bit of a madhouse in the transition area. Once I got that done, I made sure I knew where all the run and bike outs were located. As I learned, you are pretty disoriented coming in an leaving the transition area during the event and will want to have your route to the outs dialed pre-race. I got my wetsuit on and headed to the swim start.

 

Our wave was the 4th one out and I made sure to make my way to the back of the pack so i didn't get trampled by the stronger swimmers. The first half of the swim was devastating. It felt like I was swimming while someone was giving me a bear hug. I could not breath and wass forced to switch back and forth between freestyle and breast stroke. I was miserable. Once I got to the half way point things got drastically better. I loosened up and started swimming like I'd been practicing. I swear it took 21 minutes to complete the first half and 15 minutes to complete the second half. I finally finished the swim and ran into the transition extremely light headed and a little disoriented.

 

It seemed like it took forever to get my wetsuit off, but as I later found out, my transitions were pretty fast. I got all my gear on and hopped on the bike ready to tackle Lynch Hill. This was definitley one of the steepest hills I'd ever climbed and my legs were definitley feeling the swim. Once to the top of the hill, I just relaxed and started to pedal. The course was hilly, but I had trained on hills very similar to this course so I handled them pretty well and was able to conserve some energy for the run. I shot down Lynch Hill hitting 50mph while dicing through the runners finishing and cyclist coming up. That was probably my favorite part of the course besides the finish line.

 

I flew through transition 2 and shot out the Run out like a bolt of lightning. I got about 500m into the run and realized I was going way too fast. I backed it down to about a 9 minute mile pace and took it easy. At around the 1000m mark it was apparent that this run course was going to be brutal. I had trained on a very flat run course which proved to be a bad idea and the hills really got to me. I started to walk the big hills and run the flats and down hills around the 3k mark. I was hating life up until I got to the top of "the big hill". I started to run around the 7k mark and did not look back. Crossing the finish line in 3 hours and 20 minutes, I was stoked with the results.

 

At the finishline, I was greeted with a cool towel, a medal, gatorade, water, fresh fruit and yogurt. I sat in the finishline area for about a half an hour enjoying the refreshments and waiting for my friend to cross the line. I finally left the finishline area with a big smile on my face and huge sense of accomplishment. We promptly headed back to the campsite, packed everything up and proceeded to tell 6 hours worth of stories during the car ride back to sweet home Murrieta.

 

I've been taking things pretty easy this week after training for 5 months. Eating like a pig and being lazy has never felt so good. However, I am hooked on tris. I already got a training program together starting next week along with a healthy diet. Now that I have done an Olympic Distance tri and know what it takes, I am more motivated than ever to train and get better at the swim, bike, and run. I've also mapped out 5 different tri races to compete in through the rest of the summer. Next time I race, I want to be able to compete not just finish. I truly enjoy the competitive nature, friendly competition, and ovreall increase in health and athletic ability you receive by being a triathlete. I look forward to racing tris for a while. 

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Triathlon Checklist

Posted by MikeDiesel May 1, 2009

 

I can not say how stoked I am to almost be competing in an Olympic Distance Triathlon and actually feel ready to compete. Looking back, I notice there was actually a lot of stuff I did in preparation for this tri, besides training, that would be really helpful for someone else to know prior to committing to an event like this. Here is a quick checklist that I came up with.

 

    • Gear: Running Shoes, Running Socks, tri-shorts, tri-jersey, swim goggles, tri-wetsuit (I'd suggest renting in advance and testing before the event), bicycle, cycling shoes, helmet, cycling/running sun glasses, comfortable undies, body glide (this is a deodorant like stick that you apply to areas that chafe, it also helps you get in and out of your wetsuit), and four water bottles.

 

    • Nutrition: Energy gels to sustain energy, salt capsules to stay hydrated, electrolyte tablets to put in your water to stay hydrated, energy bar(s) to eat on the ride to sustain energy, and lots of water. ** Make sure to start taking this stuff a few months in advance and try different brands to see what works best for you.

 

    • Where to stay: Make your camping reservations/hotel accommodations well in advance of the event. You always score better camping spots and hotels the sooner you reserve. This will also give you an idea of what food and meals you will be able to prepare pre and post race.

 

    • Travel: If you are driving a distance, make sure to accommodate for delays so that you are not scrambling at the event to get everything sorted out. If you are flying, make sure to figure out how you are going to get your bike to the event.

 

There's still a lot of details that I left out that are more specific to the person such as food to bring, tools, first aid, etc, but the above should be a huge help to anyone thinking about doing their first tri.

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The Countdown Starts

Posted by MikeDiesel Apr 27, 2009

I pretty much wrapped up my training this past Wednesday before I left on my vacation to Costa Rica. Things were super hectic before I left on this trip, but I did manage to get all of my training done and test all my equipment before taking off. Here's a little recap of how the the end of my training wrapped up.

 

 

-- I recieved my wetsuit and decided to try it on an 1800m open ocean swim which which was by far the hardest swim I have ever done. The first  half of the swim was **** and I was having some serious issues calming down and just swimming. The cold water, rolling waves, and the suit all combined made it a character building experience. By the end of the swim, I did feel comfortable and really happy that I decided to test it out before the tri.

 

 

-- After the above mentioned swim, I set out on a 30 mile ride with some huge hills at a race pace. I pushed it really hard and averaged 20.5 mph. This was great, but I really did not leave anything in my legs for the run I was going to do after it.

 

 

-- I attempted to do a 6 mile run right after the bike and got a 1/2 mile into it and completely fell to pieces. I ended up walking/running 2 miles total before giving up. This was a pretty devastating experience as I was almost postive that I would be fine for this portion and I did not even have the strength in me to walk the complete 6 mile course. I was starting to question how I would do at the wildflower...

 

 

-- 4 days after my defeat, I set out on a 20 mile bike ride and 5.5 mile run with a goal to make sure I ran the whole run. I averaged 18.5 mph on the bike and did the run in about 50 minutes. This made me feel much better and I was stoked on this result. Now I was back to feeling ready and able to complete the wildflower. I needed that!

 

 

-- I got some experts to help me figure out what mutritional supplements I would need at the tri. They loaded me up with hammer gels, salt stick tcapsules, electrolyte tablets, and bock breakers. I have used all of these things a few times and the bock breakers and salt stick capsules seemt to be what I value the most.

 

 

-- Had the local bike shop tune my bike and get it race ready. They tightened up my shifters, gave me new handlebar tape, adjusted my brakes, and detailed it. She's ready to rumble.

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Recovery Supplements

Posted by MikeDiesel Apr 2, 2009

 

I haven't done too much experimenting with supplements during my tri-training other than energy gels before and during the longer runs and bike rides. However, right before my big ride on Sunday, I started taking L-Glutamine again. This is one of the only supplements I have ever taken and when I took it previously it was during weight training where I used it to speed musclre recovery. Knowing that it probably could not hurt to take something that sped muscle recovery, I decided to get back on the program for this last month before the wildflower. Unlike other supplements, L-Glutamine does not make you feel all wound up, bloated, experience anxiety, etc. In fact, you don't even really notice it working until you realize you are not near as sore as you should be.

 

 

Anyways,  I've had nothing but positive effects from the L-Glutamine and I really wanted to know if there were any negatives that I was unaware of. I'd also like to know more info on other supplements that could be beneficial to my training as I get ready to peak before the Wildflower.

 

 

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Century Sunday

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 31, 2009

The thought of riding a 100+ mile bike ride has been on my mind for a while, but I had some serious doubts if I could do it or not. Not because I was afraid my legs would blow out, but a lot of other factors such as overall body fatigue, if I could sit for that long, how I could stay properly nourished, etc. All of those things made me fairly nervous about the concept, but I got over it pretty fast when my training partner invited/challenged me to a century ride this past Sunday. Just him and I on a 100+ mile loop which I ended up mapping out and putting together (big mistake). So let me go ahead and describe the various stages.

 

Pre-Ride: I went out into the garage to check my bike over, lube my chain, and adjust my seat. Immediately, i saw that I had a flat which I took as a bad omen. This forced me to head to the bike shop where I got some excellent advice on nutrition for the big ride. They loaded me up with about 1500 calories of food and suplements along with a freshly fixed flat and sent me on my way.

 

Murrieta - Fallbrook: The ride did not start easy. We took a bike trail pretty casually down to the base of the De Luz area and began our mission through the hills on our way to San Diego. The first hill is a 2 mile 700ft elevation climb which I figured was going to be the hardest of the ride. Not really something I wanted to start with, but probably good to get it out of the way right off the bat than deal with something like that towards the end... so I thought.

 

Fallbrook - Leucadia: Once we got into Fallbrook, we started descending for like 20-30 minutes, diving down to sea level from some pretty good elevation. I am not sure what the elevation change was, but it was the longest decent I have ever done. Once we got down into the Oceanside area on our way to Leucadia,  we started hitting some barn burning hills. None of them were unbearable, but it was just a nasty 15-20 mile stretch of rolling hills which were all unexpected. Here I was expecting a nice flat road that ran parallel to the ocean and it was not by any means. The last hill we hit coming into Leucadia was probably the second worst of the ride to this point as well which was painful. At this point, we were almost exactly 60 miles in.

 

Leucadia - Oceanside: Finally a break! At the turn around point,  we had a leasurely 15 mile trek up Pacific Coast Highway which was awesome. A nice tail wind was pushing us along and we were using this time for recovery. Unfortunately, some old man on a Townie decided to show me the wheel at one point which inspired me to take off and beat myself up for this stretch that was supposed to be relaxing. My friend got a flat  a couple hundred yards before the burger shop we planned to stop at, so he fixed that and then we rested for about 30 minutes while we refueled on some delicious french fries and hamburgers. Yum Yum.

 

Oceanside - S. Fallbrook: We took off from the burger joint, bellies full and relaxed, ready for a nice leasurely 15 mile stretch before heading back up the hills into Temecula. That lasted for about 3 miles until we hit an unexpected hill which got us right back to questioning how we were going to make it another 45 miles. Ahhh. Luckily, after that, we did get a 10 mile stretch that was pretty easy before we hit Gopher Canyon Rd. At Gopher Canyon, I think we still had another 35 miles to go and this is where it started to get brutal. At the end of Gopher Canyon, we hit a 9% downgrade which got me going 51 MPH. That was super fun! Though, this also meant that I was just going to have to climb that much more after I got to the bottom... the pain begins.

 

S. Fallbrook - Temecula: Oh my gosh... After I calmed down from that high speed descent I realized I was about 90 miles into my ride and had about 15 miles of serious climbing to do. This was the strongest test of my will that I had ever gone through. I've played through pain and injury before becuse adrenaline would just take the hurt away. That was different because I was playing in a game where I'd be able to rest and recuperate in between action. When I looked up and saw the road ahead of me I knew it would take more than a little excitement to get me all the way to the finish. I dug deep and started the climb.

 

    • Hill 1: This was the worst (it was possibly the hardest of the whole ride, but I was so beat by this point, its hard to give n honest opinion) of this climb. I believe it was about 3-4 miles in total length and half of it was up a 7-9% grade and that was at the top. This hill was the closest I came to actually clipping out and stopping, but I held it together and made all the way going 4-5mph at the top. The backside of this hill was a 7% downgrade that was another lengthy decent that I had a hard time enjoying due to the fact that it just made the next hill that much steeper and longer.

    • Hill 2: This will was the gift that just kept on giving. A 5-6 mile grinder that took you up and over the mountain range into Temecula through the small city of Rainbow. This was a diffcult hill to climb at this point, but i was thankful to be going up this thing compared to the last one I was just on. As a matter of fact, just about all I thought of for the rest of the ride is how much I never wanted to climb Hill 1 again.

 

Temecula - Murrieta: Payday! We hit one last nice decent through some windy rounds and a golf course into Temecula. Their were a couple very small hills that we hit on our way to a bike path which would eventually get us home. To my surprise, we still had some energy and ending up doing about 17-18 on the flats which I was pretty happy with.

 

Stats: The ride took us 9 hr 15 minutes total to complete with an actual 8 hr 15 minutes of seat time. We rode a total of 116 of the hilliest miles I have ever ridden. We averaged a little over 14mph and I burned over 6600 calories. I ate and drank about 1800 calories worth of food in order to survive the journey. We only had 1 malfunction which was a flat tire. 52MPH was the top speed of the ride. 4.2MPH was the low speed of the ride. 7 hours is how long I had to endure a stitch that was in the right side of my stomach before it went away. OUCH!

 

What I learned: 

 

    • Be prepared. If I had not loaded up on carbs a few days in advance and talked to the guys at the bike shop on how to stay properly nourished, I would have probably given up or had to stop more. Take spare tubes and a mini tool kit with you. 8 hours on a bike can bring up a lot of unexpected problems that you will want to be able to fix.

    • Do not do this alone. For one, you will want a friend with you to help motivate you and keep you company. Also,a lot of the ride took me places where I had no cell phone service. It would have been a nightmare if I was alone and my bike had broke or I got injured.

    • Pre-Run the Course: I had never driven on about 40 miles of the course and I paid for it. Looking back, I would never have planned the hardest hill to be at mile 80. That was a mistake and I won't let that happen next time.

    • Never give up: The longest ride I had done prior to this one was a 50 miler. It was my heart and determination that kept me going on this one. I found out alot about what I was actually made of and am extremely proud to say I accomplished what I did.If you set your mind to something, it will be accomplished.

 

Here's a snapshot of my route. Those little blue things are mile markers.

 

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I Finally Get It

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 27, 2009

Let me go ahead an lay out my progression in the swim starting in January and going through March.

 

 

 

    • January: This was a tough month and almost broke my spirit in even doing the triathlon. I am extremely competitive and just could not do the swim where as the run and bike I was doing well with. I flopped around the pool struggling through every day I had to jump in the pool and perform the training program laid out for me. I had no sort of breathing technique and I could barely do a 75m freestyle(and that was right when I hopped in the pool).

 

 

 

    • February: Things started to look positive. I was making progress and the drills seemed to be helping, but not a whole lot. I also could not stand the drills because I could barely do them without stopping and catching my breath. The kick drill was a nightmare too and seemed to really get my shin splints going. By the end of this month I had progressed on my freestyle, but only to 200m when I was fresh. I had to switch to the breast stroke after that so I could catch my breath. My breathing technique was starting to form and I was taking a breath every third stroke.

 

-- March: I had started completing all of the swim drills, but I felt like the progress on my freestyle swim was about maxed out because I just kept running out of breath. This was pretty important because my breast stroke was signifigantly important and I knew the only way I was going to be competitive at the Wildflower was to get better at the freestyle swim. After watching other people swim, I decided to changemy breathing to every other stroke. That was the trick! Now I can do all of my swim training in freestyle mode and don't have to switch to the breast stroke.

 

 

 

I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I can focus on my swim technique without having to worry so much about suffocating from lack oxygen. April isgoing to be a good month. 

 

 

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Swimmin' With My Beats

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 26, 2009

 

I wanted to say thanks to H20 Audio for hooking me up with a waterproof headphone system and I-Pod shuffle to get me motivated during my swim training. When I got the system, I was skeptical on how they would work and totally thought they would fall out. After 4 different swims with them, I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised that they have not come out once yet. The other swimmers are obviously jealous as I glad through the water blasting a little Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses. Nothing like a little Hair Metal to get me fired up in the pool. Thanks H20 Audio.

 

 

P.S. Did I mention they helped increase my form tremendously. Check out my pic below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking it Easy

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 19, 2009

It finally feels like I'm reaching the home stretch on training and I'm starting to feel like I am actually prepared for my first triahtlon. The workouts have definitley jumped to a whole new level of intensity between the 40+ mile bike rides and 7-9 mile runs on the weekend back to back. I'm putting a lot more time in at the pool too, but that does not suck the life out of me like the rides and the runs. So, I've decided to take it easy this week and not run or bike Today, Tomorrow, or Saturday. Instead, I am going to let my legs heal all the way up so I can get back to putting stronger efforts into all of my training. After this little "break" I am not going to not miss anything and just put my head down and focus on getting the most out of these last few weeks before I try to tackle the hills of the Wildflower.

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The Ups of Cycling

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 18, 2009

Here's why I bare obstacles like "The Gauntlet" and love to go cycling. I gave Steve and Javier a little extra inspiration at the end to conform to a traditional cyclist uniform.

 

 

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The Downs of Cycling

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 17, 2009

Ok, so here's my video of the dreaded "Gauntlet." Don't even ask what I was trying to say at the end. My cycling buddy was bugging me to get a move on before we were ran over so I didn't get a chance to redo it.

 

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The Temecula/Murrieta, CA area is a super clean family oriented community which I am happy to live in. The weather is always within a few degrees of San Diego and it's pretty easy to stay active outdoors. The only issue is that it is a growing community and a lot of the conveniences that more developed areas have have simply not been built yet. Below is a couple complaints.

 

-- Lack of pools: Their is literally less than 5 pools in this area that are even semi-accessible to the public. 2 are at other gyms that I don't have a membership to, 1 is at a swim training facility which you have to be taking lessons at to access it, another is a community pool that is open to the public that's always a mess. Which leaves me with my only real option that is the pool at 24 hour fitness. There I can use their 25m, 5 lane pool with my membership. Unfortunately, I have to wait until after 9:30 PM during the week to even be gauaranteed a lane to swim in. Ahhhh!!!

 

 

 

 

    • Not many bike lanes: This area is growing way faster than the current road system can handle which leaves everyone on bikes fighting for a piece of the road with all of the cars. Their is one particular scary 2 mile stretch that I have to ride on almost every time I go on a ride. On this particular stretch, it is a two lane road with no divider, no bike lane, a speed limit of 50mph (which is usually 60), a shoulder that conisists of loose dirt that leads into a barbwire fence, and rolling hills which help to abstruct driver's vision. One of my favorite loops through the wine country is almost as bad and that's a shame because less experienced cyclicts don't even atempt this ride and its gotta be one of the most scenic loops in the area. Look for a couple video and picture blogs that should be coming soon showing the Ups and Downs of Riding in the 951.

 

I hope a member of the Temecula/Murrieta City Councils gets a hold of this blog and addresses these issues before I lose my mind.

 

 

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Working and Training

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 5, 2009

 

Every day I continue my training, I am more and more impressed with endurance sports athletes. Its hard enough to continuallly train 6 days a week and eat right for an Olympic Tri at an amateur level. I'd imagine that training to compete at an expert level must take at least twice as much time and probably double that amount to race an Ironman. That means that training to just complete an Ironman would probably take 32-40 hours a week of training, eating extremely healthy 7 days a week, and no partying (my crutch). If you were still living with your parents and did not have to worry about sustaining a living that might not be a problem, but from what I've seen, most people that compete in endurance racing have jobs that they're at 40+ hours a week. That makes an average of 11.5 hours a day devoted to work and working out. That only leaves about 6 hours left per day to manage eating, family, friends, animals, religion, home, etc. On top of that, there are few people that get paid any substantial amount of money to compete and most people just to it for a pride and fellowship. All of the above makes me respect and admire all endurance athletes past, present and future for their efforts and dedication to a sport that does not offer huge monetary rewards, but an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

 

 

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Laying Bricks

Posted by MikeDiesel Feb 27, 2009

 

Wheeew. The brick workouts combining running and cycling at the same time are really kicking my butt. I can maintain a good pace doing either one individually, but combining the both back to back is ****. It is taking some serious determination and mental strength to even start the run after a decent bike ride. I did start taking GU (which is an energy gel) and that seems to be helping my energy levels if I can consume one of those before I start the bike portion and one before I start the run.

 

 

I am sure this phase of wanting to lose it each time I hear the word brick will go away soon just like my resentment for the word swim soon faded a month into my base training. In the mean time, I figured I would gripe about it while I could.

 

 

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New Sensation

Posted by MikeDiesel Feb 24, 2009

This last Sunday I decided to step up and see where I was at in my training and opted to do a 30 mile bike loop and then run for as long as I could. I averaged 16 mph on a hilly loop without pushing it too much on the bike because I was trying to save some energy for the run. I was pretty satisfied with that effort and took off running about 5 minutes after the bike ride.

 

As the run started out, my legs felt really wierd as if I was floating. It wasn't necessarily a sense of fatigue but just different. I got about 1 mile into my run and had to stop because the front outside part on the bottom of my left leg was starting to throb. Not like a shin splint, but like it was going to explode if I kept going. This is a common sensation that you get from riding motorcycles, but it occurs in your forearms. Anyways, I switched to a run/walk after that to avoid injury. Once I got home, I put some ice on it and all was back to normal pretty fast.

 

 

 

I am guessing it has something to do with dehydration due to all the water I burned up during the bike, If anyone can offer a remedy to this sensation, I woud wlecome it with open arms.

 

 

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Swimming like a Fish

Posted by MikeDiesel Feb 20, 2009

Well.... not exactly, but that's what I tell my self for encouragement. Each day I get in the pool I feel stronger. I am sure it is the drills and using the kickboard is really helping out as well. My roommate who was killing me in the swim is still swimming much farther, but I am at least able to hold pace with him which is positive. Below is a list of all my issues I still am having with the swim.

 

 

 

    • When are you supposed to breathe?  I am currenlty breathing on every other stroke, but only on my right side. I see an equal amount of people breathing out on both sides as I see breathing out of one side. This seems to be one of the hardest part of swimming for me.

 

 

 

    • Breast Stroke or Freestyle? I can go faster swimming freestyle, but can not maintain the speed or consistency do to my issues breathing described above. The breast stroke seems to be substanially easier for me and I can keep up a consistent pace using this swim technique. I guess what I am asking, is what will be better when I actually compete. A faster, less consistent method, or the steady and easier/consistent method?

 

 

 

    • Getting a stronger kick. I thought my kick was good until I saw a few of the other people in the pool using the kickboard and they just destroyed me. What workout outside of the pool can I do to improve this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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