Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dialed Up

I went to start this post and noticed that it has been a month since my last one! Ouchie.

The reason I have been absent is that I have upped the volume in my training. Then add in me watching the Tour de France each evening and I just haven't had the time. Now that the volume is coming back down, I can more easily find the time to post. Much to go over so I'll do it like a race.

Swim: Good news and bad news here. The good news is that my training is coming along very nicely. The stroke modifications have imprinted themselves firmly in my brain and I have been swimming without pain. My workouts have been over 1000 yards and I have been doing sets of 200 with the only problem being that I'm not in the shape I was before I took my layoff. That's to be expected, though, so not a problem. This week I want to get in a few fast 50s to feel how that affects my shoulder.

The bad news is today's ocean swim. I got up nice and early and practiced putting my wetsuit on and taking it off. This would be my first swim in a wetsuit so I wanted to make sure I could get in and out of it (it's a Rocket Science sleeveless wetsuit and they put out a great video showing how to do that). I get it on and meet up with the group from the Los Angeles Tri Club (they have a swim at Zuma each weekend), and we go out into the water and swim past the waves then swim back to shore, just to get used to things. The water's cold but the wetsuit is protecting me. I sure know I'm not in a pool anymore but I know I'll get used to it. I wasn't feeling seasick, which I was a bit worried about, so that was good. We get out of the water and walk quite a ways down the beach (1/2 - 1 mile) and go back in the ocean. Swim past the waves and gather the group together, ready to swim back. It is at this point that I have a minor panic attack and decide to bail on the a complete wuss. I used seasickness as an excuse so I saved a bit of face but still...

On the long walk back I spent time reflecting on what the heck just happened. I think it was a combination of things. First, I have swum in the ocean before but I have never really swum in THE FUCKING OCEAN before. Swimming in calm bays in warm Hawaiian water is nice but it's not swimming in THE FUCKING OCEAN, which is big and bouncy and huge and murky. What I think really set me off, though, was the combination of cold water and a wetsuit. It was my first time in a wetsuit and I was not used to the pressure on my chest and how it affected my breathing. Combine that with cold water, which always takes my breath away, and you have panic about finishing a longer swim than I would have liked. I am out there in the ocean and thoughts of DNS-ing next week's triathlon and quitting altogether are floating around in my head. And I have a long swimming background!

I would like to publicly apologize to all the people I have (privately) made fun of for wussing out of the ocean swim part of a triathlon for whatever reason.

What to do now? Well, I have a week until the tri, and its swim is only 440 yards so my thinking is that if I get used to the wetsuit, the rest should fall into place. That means I am getting up early on Tuesday and Thursday for a morning workout in my wetsuit--like a dork. I really didn't want to do a pool swim in a wetsuit (for the aforementioned dorkiness factor) but my back's against the wall on this one. If I get used to swimming and doing some fast sets in the wetsuit, which I am hoping will simulate the breathlessness from cold water, I should be okay for 440 yards. After that, the club has shorter ocean swims that I'll ease into. They're less convenient to get to but the alternative of continuing freak outs is not an option.

Bike: Now that I don't have to take my son to school in the mornings, I have more flexibility in my schedule. That has resulted in my being able to bike to work twice a week. Part of the commute is a suburban section with lots of stop signs, and I take that easy. However, most of it is on a road with a bike lane and just a few stop lights. This has been going well and I am seeing improvement.

I had upped the volume quite a bit on the bike so that last week's training was my highest training volume since high school. This week is less since I need to recover for next week's tri. Yesterday's ride was just 29 miles in race gears and I flew (except when I had to repair a flat).

Run: I am still doing just once a week here but I am making slow progress. I'm still slow but not as slow as I was a few months ago. I am still alternating a "speed" week with a distance week. The speed is getting speedier and the distance is getting longer (up to just over four miles). The speed goal for this year is to bring my 5k time down under 30 minutes. The distance goal is to reach a 10k. Slow but steady progress is being made towards each.

Race: The Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Oxnard next weekend was something I had originally wanted to put on my schedule several months ago but it had conflicted with a family event so I couldn't. A few weeks ago I found out that the conflict was gone so I signed up for it. It's a month before the Hansen Dam Tri and it's a short ocean swim of 440 yards, which will be a good intro to that. The bike course is supposed to be nice and flat, too, which a Clydesdale like me appreciates. I am reducing my training volume so I will be fresh for it. This will be my second tri and my first in a Clydesdale division.

The End: That's about it for now. I hope to not let so much time go between posts but I will probably be sufficiently distracted by the Tour de France that I just don't know.

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