So my open water swim did not go as well as I had planned.
My wetsuit, which was delivered from wetsuitrentals.com, protected me nicely from the cold waters of Lake Patagonia. It's the swimming that caused me a few problems. When the cold water hit my head it sort of took my breath away and my chest felt super constricted as I tried in vain to swim. The wetsuit felt comfortable enough on dry land, but once I was in the water it felt like it was strangling me.
I managed OK as I swam with the small waves created by the breeze, but struggled when I turned around and swam against it. I was so surprised by my lack of swimming ability since I can fairly easily swim the necessary 1,500 yards in a pool. My goal this week is to practice with my wetsuit as many times as possible.
I'll have more to report in two days since I haven't actually completed my open water swim drills. Tomorrow my husband and I are heading out to Patagonia. Not that Patagonia, but the one south of Tucson. It's an absolutely beautiful area with rolling grasslands and mountains surrounding it.
We'll camp at Patagonia Lake State Park - at least that's the plan - so I can do a few open water swims with my wetsuit. I also plan on taking my bike because I've been told the hills around Patagonia are similar to Wildflower.
Gale or Giselle or anyone else out there leave any tips or comments on anything I should try while I'm out for my wetsuit open water and bicycling test drive.
I have less than a month to go before Wildflower. This is scary for me and, of course, a little exciting. I've recently become obsessed with brick workouts because I figure this is really the only way to be prepared.
The online training program Gale provided us is chalked full of brick workouts. Today, for example I am supposed to swim and then do a speed running workout. I've been trying to push these two workouts as close together as possible in an effort to recreate a triathlon experience. Unfortunately, real life gets in the way on occasion and I've miss one part of the workout.
The other day I decided to create a mini tri for myself. I even set up fake transition areas. I swam the full 1.5 km, then changed clothes and rehydrated - this took four and a half minutes - and then jumped on the bike. Normally, I would cycle outside, but it has been annoyingly windy and I opted to ride indoors. I cycled 10 miles, then went over to the treadmill and ran three miles. My bike-to-run transition was two minutes because I casually filled my water bottle, stretched and then walked over to the treadmill.
Obviously not a full triathlon. At Wildflower I would have another 15 miles on the bike and three more miles running. The good news is, I felt OK.
I'm going to have to prepare and test out different types of energy bars or snacks for my transition. I am always famished when I finish my swim. I've also discovered that my foot strike on the treadmill is different than when I run outdoors. I seem to strike on my heel instead of more flatfooted and it causes my shins to get super tight. I spent considerable time stretching afterwards and the next day felt pretty good. Not sore, just a bit tired in the legs.
My knee these past few days has been OK. I haven't been running either, so who knows, maybe the pain is lurking around the corner. The pain itself is pretty minor. It's been my mental health that has suffered more.
There is nothing worse - for me, at least - than feeling awesome, wanting to run faster and longer and not being able to. I've decided to focus my efforts in the other two areas that don't affect my knee. I guess that's the benefit to a triathlon: there are three sports to choose from.
Yesterday I took out my frustrations in the pool and whipped through the workout much faster than I intended. I was pretty tired at the end. I also was content and felt like I had accomplished something in a time when my knee has limited some of my efforts.
Gale suggested taking a look at my shoes. They are not brand new and they're not old. Somewhere in between. The shoes are a new style and brand then I've used before. I think I'll bite the bullet and go buy the shoes - Adidas Gel Nimbus - that I have used many times before. It was the shoe model I continually bought and used while on the Pacific Crest Trail. It's more of a long distance running shoe and has a super cushiony base to it.
Today is supposed to be a rest day. It rarely is for me since I typically miss one workout earlier in the week because of work etc. So back on the bike and hopefully a good long ride. I need more of those if I'm going to tackle Wildflower.
A difficult triathlon in less than 12 weeks should be all the motivation I need. But apparently it's not because I've struggled a bit this week to complete all of my workouts. Running and strength training went fine. Cycling and swimming took a hit.
I'm not too worried. I know I can make it all better by shaking it off and moving forward. I just can't get over the feeling that a giant Big Ben-type clock is tick-tocking away down to the triathlon in May - and I won't be ready.
My goal for the coming week is to ride, ride, ride. I like the swimming, so normally I don't need to be encouraged to get into the pool. I manage the workouts pretty well and don't seem to struggle too much. I am pretty slow, however.
It's the cycling, which I thought would be my greatest strength, that is really suffering. Part of it is my lack of experience and my continued fear of clipless pedals and my relatively new fear of traffic.
I'm off to watch my husband enjoy himself in a 33-mile run. Perhaps that will be the motivation and inspiration I need. Thanks Gale for the swimming drills.
Here we are starting our first week of the full Tri-Training routine and I am excited. The new program looks a lot more intense and focused than the previous plan and I am anxious to start building on my newly found running and swimming skills. Below is a summary where I sit on everything so far.
Swimming: I accomplished the full 1,000 meter swim at the end of the base training and I could have kept going if I wanted to. I just was not very graceful and I feel like I was putting in way too much effort getting it done. The new training with drills and detailed instructions should help a bunch.
Running: I can now run a solid 8 miles in a row at about an 8:30 a mile pace. I hope to be down to a sub 8 minute mile pace by the time the tri rolls around and I am sure I am capable of that.
Cycling: Climbing hills is easier than it was before and my recovery time is also getting faster. I attribute this to the cross training I am doing with the running and swimming. A race pace effort right now is about 18.2 MPH over 26 miles on relatively easy terrain. My goal is to be at a race pace of 20 MPH by the time I get to the Wildflower on hilly terrain. This is a pretty intense goal, but is also my favorite part of the training and I think I can do it.
I'm really not in the position to be giving tips about swimming. But a recent trip to the hairdresser inspired me to share a few things I've learned these past few weeks.
I've concentrated on my swimming recently and as a result I feel like I've overdosed on chlorine. It dries out your skin and hair, it ruins your swimsuit etc. My first two tips deal with chlorine, the rest are about improving breathing etc.
Get your head wet. My hairdresser told me that wetting your hair with tap water before jumping into the pool prevents chlorine from soaking into your hair.
Save your suit. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed. Swimsuits are expensive. It's sort of ridiculous. And I know that every time I get into the pool, the chlorine is slowly killing my suit. As soon as I get out of the pool, I rinse off with tap water. When I get home, I rinse it in my sink with cold water and some mild soap.
Stick to the edge. When you're swimming freestyle you should spend very little time with your belly down. Instead you should be on your side, rotating your body as you move through the water. As your arm is extended out in front, your hip (on the same side) should be pointing to the bottom of the pool. The opposite hip should be pointing up to the sky.
Train your weak side. My brother told me about this. To learn how to breath on either side, do this drill for your first two laps. It's hard, though, so don't get frustrated. Swim with one arm - the other pinned to the side - and take a breath with every stroke. Switch arms on the next lap. It feels awkward. But it's helped me a lot.
My training has gone pretty well, as far as I can tell. Here's a brief recap of my hits and misses and hopefully I'll get some feedback from anyone out there in the blogosphere.
Running: I figured this would be my strongest event. I've been really inconsistent in my performance. I feel great some days, completing the training easily and without expending a lot of energy. The next time around I'll struggle on short runs. Two days later, I'll bust out my long run without a problem. I think I'm going to stick to the 5-minute run and 1-minute walk strategy for a couple of weeks.
Swimming: I'm surprised how my swimming has been since I began training. I missed the first few training sessions because I did not have access to a pool. I was feeling a bit nervous when I finally hit the pool. My brother, who competed in the Lavaman Tri in Hawaii last year, gave me a few pointers. I've managed to complete a 500 everytime I swim and I'm tired, but not totally fatigued.
Cycling: I have not put as much time into the cycling as I should. I've completed the training, but until this week it was on a stationary bike. I love cycling and am looking to forward to learning how to make my bike work for me. I'd appreciate any advice on proper shifting etc.
Now that I have gotten accustom to the base training program, I am starting to recover a lot faster than I was before and am realizing why the work out schedule is planned how it is.
I pretty much consider day 1 of the schedule the longer Saturday run. I'm still not really looking forward to doing this every Saturday yet, but it does help out a lot to have a full day of rest before taking off on a run/walk/run/walk for an hour or more. This also gives me a full week of recovery before I am expected to put in this big of effort into running again.
On day 2, the 1 hour plus bike ride is a walk in the park and I just cruise it at low intensity. This helps losen all the muscles in my legs back up from the precvious day's activity.
The third day is also pretty relaxing with an easy warm up run or a few minutes on the eliptical. This doesn't really increase the level of soreness in my body, but helps me get accustom to the run even more. After that, the streng and core training I have been doing is making a noticeable difference in my recovery times.
The swim on day 4 is my more promising day in the pool as all the muscles I use for this portion are well rested and I have a pretty postive attitude going into it. Also, I don't have to put as much effort into the different parts of my legs that I used for running. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Day 5 has got to be my easiest work out day. This is almost like a wind down coming into the latter part of the week. The warm up bike ride is pretty simple and fun since I pretty much take it easy riding to the gym or around the neighborhood. Strength and core training has also been fairly easy and I am just working on making sure to follow Gale's list of excercises to do.
On the final day, I am not looking forward to the swim, but realize all I have to do is get through this last day and I can finally enjoy a day of rest and that pushes me to finish.
I'm glad to hear Mike is over the holiday hump. I won't be for another couple of days. My husband and I are visiting his family in Wisconsin and the incredible amounts of snow have made it impossible to train outside. Luckily, we had a trial pass to one of those chain fitness gyms - which I will not be naming. We've hit the gym everyday, except for Christmas.
I've managed to complete all of my training with one major exception. I haven't completed any of my swimming training since I've been here. I didn't think of bringing a swimsuit with me - it's averaging maybe 20 degrees Fahrenheit - and even if I did, the gym keeps its pool at 88 degrees. This seems way too warm to swim laps for any length of time.
We'll be back in Arizona in a few days and I'm looking forward to starting my swimming regiment. I suspect this will be the hardest sport for me because I haven't swam with any regularity in years.
Today I will attempt my longest run in training - 45 minutes. I can run at a low/moderate 10-minute mile pace for 35 minutes without stopping.When going for longer runs should I employ the walk/run strategy like five minutes running and one minute walking or should I just run as long as I can and then walk a couple of minutes if I need to?