Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Week

That's right...after 9 months of training it's finally almost here.  Exactly one week from today the big race will be here.  It feels like I've been studying for a big test and now I'm just anxious for it to get here.  I've done everything I can for this race and hopefully those freezing cold early morning runs or trips to the pool will pay off.

After attending a wedding this weekend, we realized that training for the Ironman is way too similar to being pregnant.  The specific training has lasted 9 months, I eat like I'm eating for 2 (only I'm eating for me and working out me...guess that can count as 2), I can't really drink (at least not super close to race day), and I go to bed super early (9pm = triathlete bed time).  Anyways hopefully more posts to come this week and definitely a race report post race. 

Swimming Part Deux

After moving to Arlington, I figured it was time to start swimming with a masters team.  Off the recommendation of Ed, Keith and I joined Minuteman which was the best swimming decision of our life.  Seriously…any in the Boston area should swim with them.  I mean where else can you swim long course, listen to nice upbeat music, meet some awesome people AND be coached by some fantastic, enthusiastic coaches?

The first Minuteman practice didn’t exactly go as planned.  We got in the ‘triathlete lane’ which quickly became the ‘I’m way slower than you guys so I’m moving to lane 6-lane’.  When told to do an IM set, Keith and I kind of looked at each other like ‘what’?  I mean you tell a triathlete to do IM and they’re going to think you want them to swim 2.4 miles.  After finding out IM actually means to do all four strokes (wait there’s four strokes in swimming?  I thought there was only 1…well maybe 2…does doggie paddle count?).  I’m pretty sure it must’ve been comical to watch us try to figure out three strokes we’d never seen and I’ve almost positive I messed up IM order for the first 2 or 3 weeks.

Alas, I’ve finally figured out IM order (least favorite stroke to favorite stroke) but I don’t dread it any less.  My fly looks like I’m about to drown, my backstroke is slow and sometimes bothers my shoulder, and my breaststroke feels like I’m not moving.  The best part of IM though is the fact that it’s made me appreciate freestyle so much more!

While I’m still no great swimmer, I feel like my stoke has improved a lot and best of all: I feel so much more comfortable in the water and I actually started to not mind going swimming (which is big for me).  Before we moved, I’d finally moved up a lane - hooray!  While I love living in VT, Minuteman is one of those things (like BTT) which I truly miss.  My new masters team swims in a short course pool, people tend to jump out of the pool super early (I’m pretty sure they only swim for like 15 mins), and our ‘coach’ puts a workout on the board and then goes on her laptop.  Even the intervals are ‘chose your own adventure’ with times like, 1min, 1min 10, 1min 20, 1min 30, or 15 sec rest.  That is NOT going to help me get faster. 

At Minuteman, I’d actually thank the coaches for kicking my butt since I definitely need it (spacing out and losing focus has been known to happen with me).  They truly are a top notch group that I’m glad to have been a part of and wish would just move to VT…Minuteman North anyone?  Needless to say my new masters really makes me appreciate Minuteman.  Thanks guys and I’ll try to make you proud in the Ironman (or at least not drown).      

Some swimming pics from last season:

Just Keep Swimming!

People always ask what’s my favorite/least favorite or best/worst event in triathlon.  Without a doubt, the swim always falls under worse and least favorite.  My swim experience before triathlon consisted of the week or two I lasted in swim lessons around the age of 4.  There’s also the time my mom tried to teach me how to swim freestyle correctly at the gym….and then gave up on me...ouch. 

The year before I started doing triathlons I figured it might be a good idea to learn how to swim.  I could stay afloat and splash around but there’s no way I was making ¼ mile much less the 2.4 miles I’ll be doing.  I enlisted my friend Steph who swam in high school and taught swim lessons at the Y for some help.  After some instruction I swam a length of the pool (holding my breath the entire time).  At the end I stopped, completely out of breath and ready to pass out.  The conversation then went down like this:

Me: “ok now what?”
Steph: “um…do that again and don’t stop.”

Ugh I knew it was going to be a while before I’d turn into Nemo and “just keep swimming”.  Swim training didn’t last much longer that year and it wasn’t until the following summer when I started with the B&S training program did I actually start to swim more consistently.  My first few swim practices with B&S consisted of learning to blow bubbles or as I liked to refer to it: remedial swim.  Over the next few weeks I’d swallowed several gallons of pool water.  I mean seriously I have no idea how there was any left in the pool.  After a few weeks I took my water guzzling to the ocean (sorry fishies!).  Salt water…yuck!  Although chlorinated water isn’t any better…especially when you’re allergic to it like me.

My first open water ocean swim was a train wreck.  A combination of swimming in the ocean and wearing the wetsuit for the first time freaked me out and I’m pretty sure I ended up backstroking.  Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t drown that first year.  On top of that, swimming has always been incredibly frustrating for me.  Swimming, like hockey is one of those sports I wished I had learned when I was younger but I was too busy playing soccer, softball and basketball.

Here's a few pics from the swim my 1st season:

Smiling after my first 1/2 mile swim..progress!


Swimming post part 2 coming soon....