Monday, 28 June 2010 20:04

Staying Mentally Strong

I always think about not just pushing my body but training my mind to do the things I want to do.  I always think about the positive to what I'm doing.  I'm getting stronger, I'm getting leaner, I'm getting faster.

I can do this.  I can do that.  Staying positive even when the chips are up against you.

I got a newsletter from Athlete's Honey Milk today and there was a link to an article written by Andrew Goodman, D.C. titled When 'Mind Over Matter' Matters.

It is a quick read with 5 points to focus on to get yourself mentally tougher.

Obviously #4 is my favorite, but the other 4 points are very valid as well.

Today I was nervous about my swim but kept telling myself that it was just 300 and nothing more and that I could do it.  As you previously read I managed to keep getting faster and faster in the water and swam sub-6 minute 300s for 3 out of 5 swims and those first two were really pace setting swims.

Click on the link in the title of the blog to read the article.
Published in Train
Monday, 28 June 2010 13:08

Descending 300′s……oh yeah !!!!!

That alarm seemed to go off sooner then it need to this morning.  After a hard workout yesterday afternoon getting up this morning was not a welcome call.

This is our last week with Jackson before he goes to his dad's for the month of July so I want to spend as much time with him as possible.  So getting up early so I could take him to daycare this morning was important for me.

Left the house at 4:35am and was in the water by 4:50am.  Time to swim.  The warm-up was different and a lot of fun.  I had a 100 easy, 50 kick, 100 easy, 50 kick moderate and then 100 moderate.

After that it was time for descending 300s.  What this means is that my 300 times are to get faster and faster with each set that goes by so you can imagine really pushing yourself on that 5th set to make sure it is faster then then the 4th set but remember the 5th set is after having swam 1650 yards.

I have to say that I was nervous b/c swimming 300 yards, while not daunting anymore when I'm just swimming is sort of daunting when you add in that I have to swim them faster and faster.  I am ready to push myself more and more in the water.  Usually this is not a place where I think I can make up a lot of time on the field but as every traning session goes by I am getting stronger and faster in the water.

My first set was done in 6:24.16.  This is 15 seconds faster then my time at Tri Grapevine.  I did not feel fatigued and thought that I probably should have gone slower but hey 6:24 is a great start.

Second set was done in 6:11.15.  A 13 second improvement and again did not feel fatigued.  I am now 28 seconds faster then my Tri Grapevine time.

Third set was done in 5:54.85.  A sub 6 minute 300 yard swim.  Is that real?  It certainly was and while feeling a bit more tired and breathing a little heavier I did not think I was spent.

At this point there was a 50 yard kick to be done to break up the swim.

Set oun on the forth set and completed it in 5:44.63.  Another 10 seconds off of my fastest time and again this is after 1350 yards and have now swam 1650 yards.

My fifth set was done in a time of 5:53.48.  Yes it was slower then he 4th set but again faster then the third set and yet again another sub-6 minute 300 yard swim.  I was so fired up.  This is a 46 second improvement on my time from Tri Grapevine which can be an eternity.

Finished up with a 100 yard buoy swim where I practiced bi-lateral breathing and then another 300 swim.  This was to be easy and my time proved it.  I finished in 7:03.29 so you know I was cooling-down especially after such a tough swim and a total of 2350 yards of swimming.

Swimming is becoming my favorite discipline in the triathlon.  It is great to see the improvement and to think it was nothing more then form.  Of course I am more fit but really improving the form with which I am swimming is what is truly helping me get faster.

The rest of today will be hard at work followed by a 1 hour run and a core/strength session that I am excited for.
Published in Train
Sunday, 27 June 2010 22:28

Swim-Run Brick

Ahhhh......it's Sunday.  The day of rest, but not for those training to compete in Ironman.  Read that again as it does not say complete or just finish.  It says compete.  That is my goal.  My goal is to be competitive and to push those that are better then me even further and to pull those behind me up to me.  This triathlon community is a fraternity and the more we push each other the better we will all be.

When I hired Coach C I told her I didn't want to just finish but that I wanted to compete.  I wanted to run across that finish line with my hands raised high and feel strong and feel like nothing stopped me from competing with those in my age group.  Her training plan has me on that path and I can feel it.

Today was a morning in which I was not up before the sun to run or bike or swim.  I slept 'in' until around 6am.  It felt great to wake up that late and know that I was going to be hanging with Jackson until Karen was done with her morning run.  Karen was going to run for as long as she wanted to today as that is what her training called for.

Sometime around 8am or so Karen called that she was done running and we all decided to meet at Le Peep in Flower Mound for breakfast.  I had already had a breakfast of a greek yogurt parfait with grape nuts and mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.)  At Le Peep Karen got a healthy version of french toast (whole wheat bread dipped in egg whites only.)  I got what they called a Breakfast Banana Split and a mini veggie omelette without cheese and dry whole wheat toast.  I figured I should load up a bit b/c of the training session I was going to have.

I decided to wait an hour or so after breakfast to go out on my training session.  I figured I would let the food digest before heading out.  My session today consisted of a 2050 yard swim followed by an 8 mile run.

My swim was a 150 yard warm-up, followed by 3x100 drills that included catch-up, RT, LT and kicks.  This was to be followed by 300 N/S, 200 N/S, 100 N/S, 100 Kick,and then an easy 500.  After that it was 8x25 HARD another 100 yard kick and a 100 yard cool-down.

I loved the N/S swims.  I proved that I could go out easy and pick up the pace in the second half of the swim.  I felt strong after each of the N/S and while my HR was elevated I did not feel overly fatigued.  I really enjoyted the 8x25 HARD as that showed that I could swim with good form and be faster if I just pushed myself.  I thought about the Disco Triathlon and doing a 400 N/S swim up there and think that would be a great strategy as I want to get used to the water and the swim before I turn it on.

Once complete with my swim it was on to do an 8 mile run.  Mind you that when I was leaving for my run it was around 12:30pm and the heat was starting to rise.  I wound up running 8.46 miles through a new course and it was great.  I was able to maintain a fairly low HR for this type of heat.  Iwas at an average HR of 143 with a max of 163.  In this type of weather Coach says that you could take off 10% from your HR so we are looking at an avg of 129 and a max of 147 which is great.  My pace was a tad slow at 10:48 or 10:41 moving but again this heat in the middle of the day saps you.  I had two gels about 40 minutes apart.  I had one after mile 2 and one after mile 6.

I weighed myself before the swim and was at 146.5.  After the run I was down to 143.5.  These were on the scales at the gym.  I consumed a protein bar and a chocolate milk to get my proteins and carbs to help fuel my recovery.  Once home I was still hungry and made a fruit smoothie and a PB&J with a banana and dark chocolate chips inside as well.  I weighed myself at home and was down to 139 which is very low.  Once I ate though I was up to 145 and the nutrients and calories I consumed aided my recovery for sure.

Now it was time to go to our own pool and hang out with Jackson.  We played in the pool for about two hours and now it is time for dinner and movie watching and relaxing.  Love Long Sundays!!!!!
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The Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 was today and Coach C participated in it.  That is not saying enough of her accomplishment.  Coach finished 5th in her age group which is just flat out awesome.  I'm waiting to see if that qualifies her for nationals.  I'm super excited for her accomplishment.

We also had another 2 friends run in the event.  Jeff Bennett finished 17th in his age group and had the fastest time of all 3 of our friends.  Della Irby finished behing Jeff at 5:04 but also finished tops in her age group so she could possibly have qualified for nationals as well.

Great race run by our friends and such a tremendous motivation for me to keep pushing my body and my mind (more importantly) past any hurdle that shows up.
Published in Train
Just another typical training day for the life of an athlete training for Ironman, except that today was to be a longer ride then ever before.  Today called for 2 hours in the saddle with HR in Z2 followed-up by a 15 minute run.

After resting all day yesterday I was ready to get back out and train.  I will say that I enjoy my rest days now unlike when I first started training and felt I was not doing enough b/c I was sitting around all day.  That is no longer the case.  As the training begins to get more difficult and longer I relish those Fridays to not just sit around but to spend with my family.  Last night we played Mario Kart for about an hour and a half and had a blast laughing the entire time.  Getting that time is important because Jackson won't always be 4 years old and as training gets more intense it will take me away for longer periods of time.

I left this morning to pick up Robert at 5:30am so that we could get to White Rock Lake just as the sun was coming up and we could beat the heat of the day.  We had to ride for 2 hours so figuring we would start around 6am we would be done at 8am and the sun will have barely poked its head out.

I will say that the first hour or so there were a ton of runners out at White Rock which prohibited us from riding hard, but we eventually found some side streets that helped us get our speed up.  By looking at my laps I can see that my speed was much faster on the 2nd half of the ride while my HR was much lower as well.  I managed to stay in Z2 though for the entire 2 hours as my avg HR was 143 with a max of 161.

I can tell you exactly when my HR spiked as well.  As I said there were a ton of people out there today and not everybody follows the rules of the road.  Runners run against traffic and biker ride with traffic.  Seems simpe right?  Well it isn't and especially when cars can't follow the rules of the road.  We had a white SUV pass us and then about 5 minutes later she was coming back towards us (mind you she could have made a right instead of a U-Turn) but instead of being in the right hand side she was in the left lane or let's be real.....THE WRONG LANE.  Headed right towards us.  I had to veer to the right and as I did I hit a huge pothole.  Needless to say I was not happy and my Garmin beeped for what seemed an eternity as my HR had spiked.

That wasn't the only time that is spiked though.  At one point Robert and I were trying to figure out if we wanted to go down a certain road.  Well as we were deciding that I had to do a U-Turn and I was going so slow that I dumped over on the bike.  I couldn't get my shoe out of the clip fast enough and fell.  Luckily I was going slow enough to not hurt myself or really hurt the bike.  The clip has a scratch and so does the water bottle cage but we are all 100% healthy now.

One thing I wanted to practice was taking in calories via gels and electrolyte drinks while riding my bike.  As it turned out it wasn't that hard.  The gel was the more difficult of the two in trying to get it out of my trisuit.  Once I did find the pocket and remove it then consuming it was easy.  You can't do this in the aero position and have to sit up to do it but it takes about 30 seconds and won't kill your time.  After taking in the gel I reached behind me and grabbed my water bottle out of the cage and took two swigs and put it back easily.  So let's say one item on the practice session that I wanted to perfect I did.

I think that without the traffic and stop and go we had that the average speed would have been closer to 18 mph over the 2 hours and I think we could have done that with ease.

Once the ride was over it was time for a 15 minute cool-down run.  Coach wants me in Z1 for these runs and it is very difficult to get down that far.  We took about 5 minutes transitioning from the bike to the run and my HR was down near 109 before we started running.  Before 2 minutes of running was up I was at 150.  I averaged 148 with a max of 153 so I was slightly above Z2 but I can say that it was conversation pace and I think that I could have run that way for at least an hour if not more.  In the 15 minutes we covered 1.61 miles.

My body feels strong right now.  I am at 143.2 lbs which is pretty good for having weighed 145.2 when I left the house right now and being out training for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I bured 1789 calories during the session.  After we finished I consumed Athlete's Honey Milk and I can say it is a great tasting product that comes with 26g of protein.  I ate 2 bananas and 1 pluot plus 1/2 of a Promax Protein Bar.  I don't feel fatigued or sore at all and truly feel strong. 

I am very happy with how the training is going and knowing that I can ride for 2 hours and not feel fatigued is a huge confidence boost for me.  In calculating my times based on this 2 hour ride a 5 hour and 30 minute race for 70.3 miles is well within reach.  I am not goal setting yet but based on how well the training is going I think that this is feasible, but time will tell if that gets better.

Now it is time to enjoy family and friends.  Heading out in about an hour to pick up my buddy Tim to go see the scorching hot Rangers play the Astros.  Sort of a Subway Series for Texas except that there is no subway here.  I guess this is the I-35 series.

I have to also give Karen her surprise.....it is a cycle trainer.  Since her fall she has been hesitant to get out on the bike and I hope that this is one way to build her confidence and get her out riding again.  Not to mention I can always use it when the weather is not cooperative plus the three weeks of winter that we face here in Dallas.

Enjoy your Saturday!!!!!

TRAIN SMARTER

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE!!!!!
Published in Train
Thursday, 24 June 2010 20:45

Look of an Ironman in Training

Not everything is glorious in the world of Ironman training. 

Here is a pic taken by Karen this morning around 6am on the 6th consecutive day of training.  Heading out for the 1 hour bike ride.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 22 June 2010 13:51

I’m thinking Nutrition today…..

Nutrition has been on my mind for a week or so now in terms of training.  All the questions swirl.....Am I getting enough protein?  enough fat?  enough Vitamin D?  enough carbs?  and today I come across an article that questions whether or not endurance athletes are getting enough magnesium.......great something else to have to worry about.  But really in the end I don't worry about it.  I do watch what I eat but I don't count calories and I just listen to my body.

If my body tells me I'm hungry then I eat, I just make sure it is a proper portion size and is healthy for you.  Consider what I have had since dinner last night.

Dinner - 1 piece of salmon probably around 6-8oz.  Spinach salad with 1/2 avocado, 2 grape tomotoes, red onion slices, broccoli sprouts, fresh mozarella cheese, mushrooms, yellow squash, sun-dried tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and zucchini.  No dressing on the salad and the salmon was grilled with no oil.

I went and did my strength for triathletes training yesterday which consisted of a 45 minute run on undulating hills (funny story here....stay tuned) and then weight lifting that took me another 45 minutes or so.

After working out I had a peach, a 170 calorie protein bar and a pluot (best fruit on earth....go get some now if you have never had them before....juicy and sweet.....heaven.)

This morning I woke up at 4:00am and had a Thomas' Thin English muffin with about 1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter, 1 serving of chocolate chips and a squeeze of honey.  I had a full cup of coffee to go with this, which is not the norm for my mornings.

My workout this morning was a 1 hour ride in Z2 where we hit some decent hills and got a great ride in.  We were not going super fast (avg around 16.6 MPH) but we toured the neighborhood and again hit some decent hills.  We followed up the ride with a 15 minute run (Garmin map below) that was a great way to cool down.  We were not going particularly fast but it helps to get the feel of getting off the bike and running while trying to maintain a low HR.

My post-workout meal consisted of 1/2 banana, 1/2 protein bar, a pita pizza that had pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, red onion and 1 egg white on the top (egg white had tobasco sauce on it) and another cup of coffee......I drink coffee for the taste and not for the caffeine as I'm pretty much wide awake once I'm up and I have never had a problem falling asleep after a cup of joe.

You will notice that unless I point out how much of a particular item I ate I really don't know if it's a cup, a tablespoon or a teaspoon.  I just eat.  I eat to get the nutrition and not to be bloated and feeling like I just ate 4000 calories worth of food.

It is tremendously important for me to stay hydrated and have the proper balance of macronutrients in my diet and to date I think I am doing a great job.  I have lost about 7 lbs since I hired Coach C but I think that is because I have virtually eliminated beer from my diet.  I can go out now and have 1 beer and feel good the next morning of not waking up dehydrated and not ready for the day.  I have also just about eliminated beef, which could be against the law in Texas, but I don't find the need to have it anymore.  A hamburger yes, but a steak these days not so much.  I would rather eat lean proteins like chicken, turkey, pork and fish.  As a matter of fact I took out a pork loin for dinner tonight that I will serve with onions, spinach, squash and zucchini as a soft taco.  Maybe a side of brown rice and some beans and we will have all we need to keep properly nourished.

Here are two articles that I read this morning dealing with nutrition:
Understanding the Importance of Protein

Pip Taylor: Why Endurance Athletes Need Magnesium

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So the story of the treadmill that wouldn't work, or was it that I did not know how to operate the machinery?

Yesterday Evening's Session was a 45 minute run in Z2 followed by strength/core.  The run was to be on undulating hills.  I could have run them in the neighborhood but I always find it easier to run on the treadmill on the days that I'm going to be lifting and doing core work, and on top of that 24 Hour Fitness has a treadmill that will lift up in the back to simulate running downhill.  Surely, they must have a random feature.

I get to the gym around 7:00pm and low and behold there are 2 of these treadmills open.  I get on one and within seconds the one next to me is being used.  The one on the right was occupied and the gentleman must have had an incline of 1290 because he looked like he was walking up Mt Everest.

Anyway, I go through the motions of plugging in my numbers (age, weight, speed, max elevation, etc) because this is my first time on this machine and I'm not looking to get hurt.

So I hit the quickstart button (mind you the guy on my left got there after me and he is already going) and nothing happens.  I start to push the treadmill a bit to get the conveyor to operate and nothing.  I stop the machine go through the motions again and hit quickstart and again NOTHING.  What was going on?  I repeated this (like washing your hair...wash, rinse, condition, rinse, REPEAT) and again nothing.  After 10 minutes of frustration and at this point embarrasement I moved to the normal treadmills and got my run in.

I need a lesson on this treadmill b/c it looks like it would be great for running hills, even if I hate the treadmill.
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Today's Workout:

Cycle


Run
Published in Train
After yesterday's OWS my confidence is continuing to grow that I can become a stronger swimmer, and not just stronger but much stronger.  Last night while watching TV with Karen I mentioned to her that I wanted to get back in the water to do the OWS again b/c I feel like I left some swimming out there.  Now that I know I can do 600 meters around the buoy's in the open water I wanted to continue doing them.  It was all mental and I beat myself so now I want to go at it again and prove that the first complete lap was not a fluke.

Well, I was too situated watching The Proposal with Karen that getting in the open water was not happening......but luckily Coach has me in the water again this morning.  Oh, it was tough waking up but once I got my body going it was full steam ahead to get in that pool and tackle another swimming session.

Of course at this point I wanted my wetsuit.  It really did make swimming easier.  So I had a 5 minute warm-up where I did a 50 Free, 50 Pull Bouy, 50 Paddles and another 50 Free.  I practiced bi-lateral swimming on all of them and while I am better then last week I still need to practice.

The drills were sculls again.  3x (4x50 sculls - front, side, rear for 25, then 25 free.)  This time I decided to do a set of each 4 times instead of doing all front, then side then rear.  It broke it up and kept it interesting.

Once the sculls were done it was time for the main set.  The main set was 2x500 with 1' rest in an aerobic state.  Bascially keep my HR below 135, so this was slow and steady wins the race.

I broke down the 500 into 10x50s in my head.  On the way out for the first 25 I would tell myself this is 1 and you are starting 2 which is basically telling myself that I was not stopping after 25 and this helped as it just kept the counter goign foward.

I did the first 500 in about 12 minutes with my HR at 130.  Simple enough and no issues, but with only 1 minute to rest I had to do another 500.  This is the most I have swam straight through outside of yesterdays 600.

So at exactly 1 minute I started my 2nd 500 set.  Again, I told myself to break it down and that slow and steady won the race.  Well, I must have started daydreaming of other things b/c I lost count around 450 and wound up doing 550 since my time was just about 14 minutes.  Again, my HR was low at 132 and I now know that I can do 550 without any issues as well.  Just keep getting stronger and the speed will follow.  Speed is all about technique in the water.

After that it was 400 yards of kicking followed by 5 minutes of cool-down.  Again on my cool-down I focuses on bi-lateral breathing and slow and steady.

Great session in the pool this morning and I can't wait to hit the strength part of the training tonight as well.

Slow and Steady Wins The Race.......

Avatar (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
Published in Train
Sunday, 20 June 2010 22:01

OWS = Improving at each 600 meters

Today I had my second open water swim training and I am calling it a success.  Not just a success but a tremendous success.  I started out and got to the first buoy and was mentally beat so I flipped over and kept floating and I would say that I got through about 50% of the first lap on my back.  Each lap I am saying was 600 meters although the group that setup the swim says it is anywhere between 600 and 800.  I'm going with the lower number.

2nd lap I manged to get to the 2nd buoy before having to flip over and float.  I would say it was about 70% swimming and 30% on my back.

The third lap was the best lap.  I managed to swim the entire distance without flipping over, stopping, breastsroke or swalling 1 gallon of water.  I did the last lap in 12:00 which was awesome and something for me to hang my hat on and to set as a base line to improve on from here on out.

I am thrilled with my outing as I can see the improvement from one lap to the next and I know where my problems were.  The problems are not physical but truly mental.  I need to remember to warm-up first even with a 100 yard swim, then remember that I'm a strong swimmer now and that I can get through those 600 yards with no issues.  Maybe next time I do 600 after a warm-up then try and go for 1,200.  If I can only get to the first buoy then so be it but I need to continue to push myself and get better.  That is one thing that I did during the descending 100s and it showed.

After the swim Robert and I set out on an 8 mile run.  At this point it was probably around 94 degrees out.  It has gotten so hot here in Texas so soon that I'm thinking that August will be an inferno.  I have a word for days like today and that is scorcher.  That is what these days have been like, but fortunately today was not humid and that was a plus.

My goal from Coach C was to do the 8 miles with a HR less then 147 and she put a smiley face next to that.  Nothing like a challenge to spice up my life.  So with the idea of doing 8 miles in 94 degrees and having a HR under 147 I started by putting one foot in front of the other.  For the first 4 miles my HR was never at 147, and the closest it was to 147 was 145.  I got to the 4 mile turn around point in essentially 40 minutes so I was running a 10 minutes pace.

After the turnaround and a gel to get some calories and carbs in my system for the final run back the pace was even and never seemed to speed up or slow down.  The way back has some more hills to them so my HR jumped a tad but still just barely above 150.  At the end of the run Robert started to pull away from me but I kept to my pace of 147 HR and never broke stride with that.  I finished the 8 mile run in 1:17.53 or a 9:44 pace.  I was so pumped to see my avg HR at 143 which is below where Coach wanted it and at the same time run a 9:44.  Excited.

After the run Karen and I went to Le Peep for some breakfast where at this point at 4:58pm I am still somewhat full.  It was not a ton of food, but plenty of protein as I had egg whites with spinach and mushrooms along with a chicken breast and a whole wheat pancacke.  Full the gills as they say.

Now Karen and I just got in from our pool and are going to sit down with some dinner and a movie to wind down the weekend.  Of course that is after I print up what Coach C has in store for tomorrow's swim training in the pool.  Fun times ahead.
Published in Train
Yesterday was one of the busiest days I've had in quite some time so I was nervous about my swim this morning and being somewhat fatigued.  Yesterday not only had a full day of work, but then I had a 4:30p Board Meeting followed by an 8pm softball game.  The Board Meeting went very well and while it sounds sort of crazy my confidence in my training has led to more confidence in my life.  I went into that meeting not really knowing what I was looking at but then in the middle of the meeting started asking questions and that helped build more confidence.  Made a suggesstion that the other board members agreed was a great suggesstion so I was flying high.  Went to play softball and I was the pitcher so not a lot of exersion.  We won the game 9-2 and now stand 2-0 and trying to repeat as champs since we were the Spring champs, why not add Fall champs to the list.

So this morning when the alarm went off at 4:04am again I did not hit snooze, I just turned it off.  I woke up about an hour later and instead of being panicked as I would normally be I just went about my business.  Had to relax myself before this swim.  Had to focus my energies on what was important which was swimming and not that I got up at 5am (4:45 really!!!)

I left for the gym at 5:10 am and was ready for this session.

This was to be descending 100s again.  What that is is that you swim a certain number of 100 yard sets and they should be faster with each one.  After that you do a certain number of sets at the last 100 of the previous set which should be your fastest pace yet.

Had a warm-up of 300 yards which was nothing.  Then had 5x50 drills which were to be 25 drills, 25 freestyle.  I did pull bouy, catch-up, paddles (practiced breathing bi-laterally), finger drag and front sculls. 

Then came the main set......(can you feel the suspense building?)

First 100 was done in a time of 2:10....not bad but not slow enough either.  Coach told me to do the first 100 slow so that you can build up speed and then maintain that in the 3x100.

Second 100 was done in a time of 2:08....great.  Two seconds faster but not tremendously faster.

Third 100 was done in a time of 2:02.....WOW!!!!! A 6 second improvement and I did not feel as if I had pushed the pace.

Fourth 100 was done in a time of 2:03.....probably lost that second due to fatigue from the 6 second pick-up in the previous 100.

Fifth 100 was done in a time of 2:00.....great job in getting faster with each set and getting down to 2:00

Took my 2 minute rest at this point and focused on being faster the 2:00 for 3x100.

I did my first 100 in 1:51.....WHAT a 9 second increase!!!!!  Am I setting myself up for failure?
Second 100 in 1:54.....WHAT....still 6 seconds faster then #5.  Surely this last 100 will be slow
Third 100 in 1:51.....WHAT faster then #2 and still faster then the #5?

How did this happen?  I will tell you.  It started with HIGH ELBOWS.  Remembering the finger drag drill as well as seeing the swimmer on Monday and remembering how high his elbows were on the recovery.

With the high elbow I was able to have my hand enter the water slightly closer to my body and then extend it out on the catch and pull that much more water past me.  Also I turned my hand slightly on the entrance so they were more in the scull position and able to pull the water around me.

I finished that last 100 and looked at my HR and it was at 130.  I was not breathing heavy and just cruised through 100 at my fastest time ever.  If I were able to maintain that pace then I would swim a 300 in 5:30:00......HOLY COW!!!!!  I would have shaved over a minute from my time in Grapevine.

I know I am getting more and more comfortable in the water b/c when I followed up my main set with a 300 yard steady kick I lost count.  I was enjoying the water and being in the pool that I think I did 350 yards of steady kick.

After that it was time to cool-down and do a 200 to finish up the session.  I know I was doing an easy 200 b/c my time was 4:42:15.  That is a 2:21:08/100yds so I definitely cooled down.

Put myself in the jacuzzi for 5 minutes to relax my muscles and to reflect on what I just did and my strength training this evening.

I am also adding in a new core excercise called the windshield wiper.  This will help my core get stronger which will allow for a longer pull on the swim, a better position on the bike for stronger pedalling and then also to help my form on the run which will allow my strides to get longer.
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Karen - I know you read this so I just want to say Thank You and I Love You.  Anybody who wants to train for an Ironman needs support from family and friends and I have both in you.  Thank you for the inspiration, motivation and strength to go forward on this journey and I would not want to spend it with anybody else.
Published in Train
Monday, 14 June 2010 14:10

Much Better Swim Training Today…..

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.
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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!!!!!
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