Wednesday, 26 May 2010 16:13

Swimming is getting easier, but not easy

This morning was the 2nd of 3 swim sessions during my week and I can say it is getting easier for me, but I would not use the word easy.  It is still a challenge and I love that as it pushes me to keep getting better.

One of the best parts of this training is that as I get better I look at the other swimmers in the pool for tips on how I can improve.  I used to be intimidated by these swimmers and just try to swim (muscle) as fast as I could through the water to get out but now I watch them and study them.  When I finish my session I sit on the bench for a few minutes and notice how they get their elbows up and out of the water.  How they turn their hips.  How the breathe.  How the kick.  Swimming is truly an amazing workout and it is even more interesting as you keep getting better, just like anything in life.

So today, I had a simple warm-up of 4x50 with 20 :RI followed by 1x200 and 2x100 and 8x25.  When I was previously training doing 200 was easy in that I would just power through it and go home.  Now with the training and swimming 100s and 50s and drills the 200 was getting intimidating.  I didn't think I could handle the distance, but today was a different story.  Previously I broke it down to 2x100s but today I broke it down to 4x50s since that was my warm-up.  When I was done with that initial 200 I felt I could swim 300 without being taxed b/c it was only 2x50 at that point.  Strengthening the mucsle between my ears is as important as getting stronger on the bike, pool or run.

After this main set came my drills.  All drills are performed with :20 RI and I believe this is done so that you can focus on form and not speed so you aren't spent.  On the catch-up drill I found that my right hand would drop before I could get through the recovery on the left hand and Coach C provided advice that I breathe every third stroke.  This worked perfectly for the first 35 meters but then my breathing was struggling and I went back to the every other stroke breathing and forced myself to glide more so my arm did not drop.  I think the fear of having to hold my breathe for three strokes was scarier then dropping my arm and I did not drop it the rest of the way.

Today I got to use all the equipment that I had bought from (  I got a kickboard, a pull buoy, hand paddles and fins.  I used the pull buoy and kickboard during the drills that call for them.  I swithced to using the hand paddles for the RT/LT drill where I am just stroking with one arm.  They seemed to help as they pushed a ton of water under me.

I also got do to the drill I love the most.  The fist drill.  I worked my way through that and focused on gliding and then when I did the finger-drag drill I was cruising.  I felt so much faster, just like Coach C said I would.  It was amazing to feel that fast.

At the end of the session I was required to do 2x50 at a HARD pace.  I wound up doing the first 50 in 50 seconds and the second in 54 seconds.  I don't think I can handle that pace for longer then 50-100 but it is amazing how much faster that is in comparison to when I first started, which would have been around 1 minute.

I ordered my first wetsuit today as well.  It is an Xterra Sleeveless and you can't go wrong for $99.  They are running a Memorial Day special right now that expires on Saturday.  This would be a beginner suit but I need to get used to swimming in one before I invest big money in a more advanced suit.

If you are interested in getting one for that cheap, or a different Xterra suit here is the link:    Xterra Wetsuits
On a personal note today is Man's Day in our house.  That means that I take my step-son to school in the morning and then we have dinner at night together alone.  It helps build a bond between us and also allows Karen to get her own training in.

I am also going to be signing up for the Metroplex Tri which is an open water swim tri once I find out if I have to go to NY for work.  This is going to be a great challenge not just in the race, but we are also hosting a wedding shower for our close friends Jill and Cary as they are getting married later this year.  Going to be a long but very exciting day.
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010 14:16

Exciting News Received Yesterday

I have a profile on which is a site that allows active people to submit their profiles to become sponsored Ambassadors for various companies/products.  A few months ago I submitted my profile for Team Snickers Marathon and was selected as a finalist with being informed that we would know by mid-May if we were selected for the team.  It is now May 25th and I have not heard back from them but yesterday after my strength and core regiment I found out that I had been selected for Team Jamba Juice.

At this point I just need to fill out the contract and send it back to become a team member.  This is a great honor b/c this is an open invitation that gets whittled down to finalists and then a team is selected from their.  I am honored to have been chose to represent such a terrific product.

After I get more details as to the exact nature of my involvement I will post them here and get you the information on Jamba Juice.  I'm very excited.
Yesterday's strength and core workout went great.  I was pretty tired after having woke up at 5am on Monday to get 1500 yards of swimming in and then a long day at work.  This happens to be our busiest part of the year so work is constantly coming at you and you are working on 5 projects at the same time and just hoping not to cross paths of those projects and end up with the wrong conclusions based on faulty analysis.  FUN TIME!!!!!!

So anyway the workout was a hard one.  I pushed the weights to my max according to my workout and I was done after the last core workout and came home.  After 8 years of watching this show it was about to come to and end.  That show is 24.  Jack Bauer, Choloe O'Brien, President Taylor.....all gone from my life.  Not a moment too soon I can tell you.  The show had gotten to be a bit ridiculous.

Not to mention I wanted to watch the Flyers-Canadiens hockey game.  The Flyers had the opportunity to get into the Stanley Cup Finalsbut I could not watch it b/c Versus is not carried by DirecTV.  Flyers wound up winnign 4-2 and are in the Finals for the first time since 1997 where they were crushed by the Red Wings.

A Flyers championship coupled with Duke already having won the NCAA Tourney would have 2010 off on the right foot from a fan perspective for me.
This morning's workout consisted of an easy 45 minute ride followed by a 5 mile tempo run with 8x 1minutes at a pace 30 second faster then the tempo run.

The ride was smooth and easy.  Got in 12.66 miles at a pace of 16.6 MPH with a max of 27 MPH.  This makes me happy b/c when I was doing the tri in Flower Mound I averaged that pace for the ride but I was spent.  I felt like I was barely moving during this ride so I know I can go much faster.

After the ride it was time to run.  The 5 mile run was to be at a pace of 8:30-8:45 with those 8x1 minutes at 8:10 and 2 minute recovery.  The pace was fine at the beginning but the increase was much faster then the 8:10 and thus the recovery was slower then the 8:45.  In the end I covered the 5 miles at an average pace of 8:39.

These two results from today show me that I can go faster at both the bike and the run and couple that with the improvement in efficiency in swimming and I won't be as tired and be able to push my body even more.
Speaking of swimming there is an open water swim on Sunday that I would like to try.  Have to make sure that Coach C is ok with switching up the timing of the workouts and do the swim in the AM and the run in the PM.

This week is Memorial Day weekend and hopefully the outdoor kitchen will be fully done by then.  The plantings were completely done yesterday so let's hope the dogs don't mess with them and thus allow us to enjoy the beauty of our backyard.

Pics will be up between today and tomorrow of the process of developing an outdoor kitchen.
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Today's swim training was in a word AWESOME.  I was a tad nervous this morning b/c I did not get into bed until 11pm or so and normally on a swim eve I like to get as much rest as possible so I'm not panicking in the pool and forgetting everything I have learned to date.

So when the alarm went off at 4am, and I hit snooze until 430a I felt like I was running late.  I knew I had to be home by 6:15a so Karen could get to work and I could take Jackson to school at 7am.  I did not want to rush the swim or miss any part of it, but I have to be in the water by 5am otherwise I won't make it.  DO NOT PANIC I told myself.  Get there and go slow and you will actually be faster.  Sounds odd, but its true.

I got through the warm up with no problems.  Got through the drills with ease, got through the first 100 of the main set in a breeze.  The 200 is where I had my only issue today and it was not from fatigue or anything else other then the fact that I swallowed some water and it affected my psyche.  I swallowed the water around the 75 yard mark and from 75 to 100 I was discombobulated.  I stopped after 100 for 10 seconds and right back at it with my head clear.  Once that was done it was smooth sailing.

For the first time during these swim drills I tackled the 25 yards hard the right way.  I swam faster then the drills, etc but I also did not kill myself so I wasn't able to breathe and I got through those 25 spints faster then ever before.

One trick (tip) I used today was the hip rotation.  I read about this in an article from the USAT and applied to today's training and it allowed me to breathe easier and longer.  All those yards were much easier for me then ever before.  Here is the link if you are interested in reading more about hip rotation in the pool:

This was a great way to start the day after the way the day ended yesterday and the good times are rolling.  Last night I played in our softball teams Spring Season Championship Game.  We came out a little flat in the first inning by not scoring a run but in the bottom of the 1st I walked two batters before a line drive was flagged by our shortstop to end the inning and any rally they had going.  We scored 8 in the 2nd and just kept going from there.  We ended up winning 17-4 and captured the trophy.  Great ending to a season that started out with us 0-2.  We never quit on ourselves or each other and won out.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010 18:09

Brick Work - May 18th, 2010

Today was a brick day, but this one focused on running at tempo pace as oppose to a long bike and short run.

The bike was 30 minutes and I managed to go 7.73 miles during that time but the most important thing is that I did not fall down on the new bike.

The bike was making some weird noises at first and I think I was babying it instead of riding it, but give me a break that is an expensive bike that I did not want to ding in anyway on the first ride.

Riding on that bike was smooth and effortless.  It went by without any issues whatsoever and is fast.  Very little peddling gets that bike going at a good speed.  Question is whether or not to use it in the Grapevine Tri.  Not sure I want to just yet but at the same time I have got to use it at a race at some point.  It might help push me toward the top of the age group.

The run today was to be a 6 miler b/t 8:30 and 8:45 pace with 4x2 at 8:15.  Finished the run at a pace of 8:44 but I think that the increase pace was faster then 8:15 and the recovery was slower then 8:45, but all in all it was great run.

Karen started her training yesterday with Coach C and she like it a lot.  We both have a lot on our plates right now in terms of training and work, so we need to make sure we balance our lives together at the same time.  This is going to be fun comparing how we are doing in our training.  I am beyond happy for her to go out on this limb and try something new and do something for herself.

Today I get inagurated into the Board of Directors.  What a great moment!!!!!  I can't wait to sit at the table to discuss items that not only affect my family, but also affect those families of my neighbors and those in the community that I don't know.

Being at the table and having a voice is what I ran for.  Being at the table to get a better understanding of Castle Hills is what I ran for.


Once that meeting is done I have a different type of brick to do.  Board meeting from 430-630p then off to playoff softball at 645p.  Probably won't make it there on time but will be ready to go when I do get there.  Our team hasn't been to the playoffs in about 4 or 5 seasons so this is exciting.  We have a very good team and one that can win it all if we eliminate the mistakes.


Swim tomorrow and I'm excited for it.  Going to have a great night and a great morning of training.

Until tomorrow.......don't forget to Tri everything you can in life b/c it is too short.
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Monday, 17 May 2010 13:02

Back In The Pool.....

So after yesterday's disappointing swim session, this morning was back in the pool for another 1500 yards.

Before I get into that I want to share with you what Coach C emailed me after I told her about what I thought was a disappointing swim:

Everything looks good and solid,, and you will have some ups and downs.. That's training.
I am sure your tired, I have you swimming more then you ever have, I am expecting that.
Also, the excitement of a new bike, the fitting, that all plays into your day. I'd rather be on my new bike then swimming any day..LOL.. that may have been in the back of your head.. and that is PSYCHE ... I totally understand that.

Butt up head down... Keep practicing... it's KEY in efficient swimming and staying on top of the water.
So with those encouraging words in mind I got up at 4am today to hit the pool.  I needed to be in the water by 5am the latest b/c today Karen and I were trying something new.  I was going to take my step-son to school so I needed to be home before Karen left for work which is around 6:30am.
The training was W/U - 100y; Stroke Drills: 50 catch, 50 pull, 50 kicks, 50 fist all with :20 RI, followed by 2x100 :15 RI.  Main Set: 1x 100 @ 75%, 1x200 @ 80%; 4x 50@ 80%; Stroke Drils of 4x 50 catch, Sprints of 4x25 (:15 RI); Cool Down of 1x 200.
The swimming went great.  I slowed myself down to the point that it was almost effortless.  I felt like my kicks were stronger and when I rotated my hips to breathe and rest my left arm my kicks were still strong.  In the past when I rotated my hips my legs would stop.  It was great, especially the first 1x200 where I did it and felt that it was almost easy.  That is a great feeling coming on the heels of not coming close to 200 straight yesterday.
I love the positivity out of Coach C.  It helps keep me motivated and to keep pushing me to perform at my best and to get better.
As I told my step-son on the way to school today.....Practice Makes Perfect as well as Nobody In This Family Quits.  Words to live by.
Taking him to school today was special.  It felt like a great bonding moment and he kept asking me to take him to a baseball game again.  I took him opening day and he obviously loved being there so taking him will be a pleasure.  I am looking forward to that day.
I found this picture online this morning and thought it appropriate.......
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Monday, 17 May 2010 01:55

How a good training day goes south

So the training day started out great with a great 8 mile run.  Karen and I went to Katy Trail and it is a 7 mile out and back (3.5 mi each direction) and my goal was to do 6 miles EASY aerobic (135-145 HR) and then at around mile 6 to do 10x30 pick-ups at about 90 SPM.

The 6 miles went by fairly easily and during that time I counted that my SPM were about 80 so there wasn't much of an increase to 90.  I got through those 10x30s easily and the final .75 mi was a great cool down where my HR was lowered to the 135-145 range.

I finished with an average HR of 140 with a maximum of 154.  The fastest pace was 10:34 and the slowest was 10:52 so I kept a very even aerobic pace throughout the run.

Then the best part of the training day was going to RBM and buying my newest toy.  A Specialized Transition Comp (see pic.)  The fitting lasted about 2 hours and I gotta tell you during the laser portion of the fitting where they needed my cadence b/t 80 and 90 for what should have been 2 sets wound up being 3 sets b/c they forgot to set one of the shoes.  When the 3rd set was done I was sweating profusely and dripping.  Jeremy (the best bike rep there is at RBM) had to get me a 2nd bottle of water.  Once I walked out of that shop with my new bike and a host of other items I was ultra excited.  I couldn't stop from smiling all the way home.

This evening I got to use my new outdoor kitchen.  Grilled pork loin with red, yellow and orange peppers along with asparagus.  It was a great meal, especially when you put horseradish and whole grain mustard on the pork.  Unreal.

After that, it was time to hit the pool for the longest swim of the training to date.  That did not scare me at all as I was excited to hit the pool tonight.  BUT this was the toughest swim for me.  I could not get through the 300 yard warm-up without stopping at 150 and then doing 3 sets of 50 until I finished the 300.  I then did the 4x50, followed by drills but during the main set I was finished.  I could not do the 300, 200, 100 at all but I also did not stop.  I kept doing drills since I was already in the water and need to work on my stroke.  I did the 2x100 pull buoy that was part of the day, I did the 50 catch-up, the 100 RT/LT, the 50 kick, 50 fingerdrag and then I added in another 50 pull buoy and 50 kick plus 50 fist stroke.  The 4x50 HARD was great and for the best part the last 50 was the best 50 of the entire swim.  All in all I got in 1400 yards of swimming.

Just like in golf the last 50 lead me to believe that tomorrow's swim is going to be awesome.  I'm going to be great at the swim training tomorrow.
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I had a friend of mine video me in the water yesterday so that I could send to my coach to have my 'technique' broken down and to get help with my swim since this is by far my worst discipline.

I am posting this awful video so that as I get better I can see the transformation. I want this as a reminder of where I started.

I will post more about my training today after the election party tonight. Hopefully the election party is a celebration party.
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Saturday, 08 May 2010 03:42

Ugly Swimming This Evening

Headed up to 24 Hour Fitness to have my swim stroke filmed by my buddy with his underwater camera. I have known that my stroke is inefficient and just plain awful. I know that I just try to power my way through the swim and get out of the water as quickly as possible, but what I saw on video makes me thankful that Toyota is not until October 10 and that California is still a little under a year away.

What I saw was a lot of flailing and plain ugliness. Strokes were not in rhythm and neither were what you could call kicks. I am a little disappointed in myself right now in that I am just not that good at the swim portion. Hopefully with some training I can turn that around. Anywhere I can make up time I am looking for.

Stay tuned for the video as I will post it as soon as I have access to it. I am going to post it as a reminder of how bad I was. Yes, was because I am determined to get faster.

One positive I can take out of this is that while I did the first 50 I felt faster and I was trying the technique that my trainer had spoken of on Monday. I am going to go back to the pool early Sunday morning to put in training and not try to be a speed demon b/c that is where it falls apart.

Heading to bed now b/c tomorrow will be a training day of 4 mile run, 20 mile bike, 4 mile run. Trying to train myself that when I get on the bike, winded and having done some aerobic activity, to get the legs turning over. After that the bike-run brick will take hold and allow me to get through that feeling of your legs not cooperating at the start of the run.

6am start love it.

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