Category: swimming

a triathlete’s holiday wishlist

Triathlon ornamentThe catalogs have started arriving in bulk at my house.

My kids are getting hand cramps from circling new Lego sets, rainbow loom accessories, and other bits of colorful plastic.

OK, it’s not just the kids.  It’s me, too.

For some context, my husband and I just celebrated our 13th anniversary.  The traditional gift for 13 years is lace. He gave me new compression tights.  And I was all, “Awww, my husband so gets me.”

When I’m dreaming about new trinkets, I’m thinking gear.  I love gear.  (I think most triathletes love gear.)

I’ve just started, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

stars & stripes gogglesaero mount water bottle* Triathlon bike helmet*

* these are items that still require research – so recommendations & reviews are great! 

What’s on your wishlist?  Please share.  I’m want to compile the “ultimate, crowd-sourced triathlete wishlist”.  Add your wishes in comments. Include a link, so we can all admire your impeccable taste in gear (and to make sure I don’t miss something that should be my list.)

gazinta swim

Daughter decorated swim workout My morning swim workout was joyfully improved by my 10 year old daughter.

Each time I reach the wall, I look at my handy workout scrap of paper to see what’s next. This is what I saw today.  Hannah had embellished. I smiled each time.

It wasn’t just that these little guys (called “gazintas”) are cute.  It was the amount of love that she had poured into the making of them and onto the piece of paper. Being a working parent and a triathlete means there’s a lot to balance.  There are trade-offs.  There are moments of guilt – for missing breakfasts and not having enough time to do her hair the way she likes it every morning.

These “gazintas” are a new at our house.  We created them to add fun to long division. (yes, “fun” & “long division” in the same sentence) We use them to figure out  how many times 7 gazinta (goes into) 35, etc.  But now there’s gazintas on my swim workout .  And what have I figured out?  There’s much love that gazinta me and my workouts from my family.  Every time they’re ok with me doing what I love – their love gazinta me.

I couldn’t do all of this without my family’s support and I can’t tell you just how lucky I feel to have it.

procrastination & BTTW*

Balls to the WallArriving to the pool at 5:45 is feat in itself.  For me, it means everything has to be packed and laid out and ready to go.  Fins, goggles, cap, water, nutrition bar, inhaler, towel – everything needs to be packed and at the back door. The alarm needs to sound at 5:10 – and I need to roll out of bed and not give myself space to think about much at all.  This morning, it was like clockwork, no thinking, and I was at the pool right at 5:40.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of arriving at the pool in the dark, only to realize that your swim bag didn’t make the trip.  It was packed. It was ready. And it was still next to the back door. ugh.  Luckily, I had been meaning to clean out my backpack since sometime in August. So procrastination saved the swim.  I had a pair of old, crappy goggles and cheap yellow race cap.  I was still in business. “Crisis averted” – my husband would say.

Leaky goggles are no fun, but I was able to do the workout. It was a heck of a workout. I was exhausted when I finished.  My legs and ankles were tired from: 8 x 25 kicks on back w/ arms in tight streamline @ :15 rest (odds = easy, evens = FAST).  I am making some progress: 1. my head wasn’t cranked up like an otter, 2. I didn’t drift into any other swimmers AND, 3. I discovered two broken ceiling tiles just before the wall, one at each end of the pool.  So, still no flags, but an effective proxy.

After fatiguing my legs, I got to practice some BTTW intervals: 12 x 50 @ 1:30 [4 x (2 x 50 easy/ 50 BTTW. Before hiring coach Kelsey, I’d never heard of BTTW.  *For anyone else who might not know, it means “balls to the wall”.  I think I may rename it, “IMP” (I might puke). With the short distance, 50 yards, I gave it everything – I felt like an arm flailing beast.   For the easy intervals my swim time was :50 & :40 for my BTTW. I’m not sure that was fast. BUT…one of the flip-turn swimmers asked if I was doing intervals.  I thought this was confirmation that I at least looked like I was trying to swim at varying speeds. Awesome.

After a few easy sets I was ready for another bttw set: 12 x 25 @ :10 rest [3 easy/ 3 bttw/ 2 easy/ 2bttw/ 1 easy/ 1 bttw]. The bttw 25’s were consistently :20, until the last one.  I think this was my true bttw level – all out.  I “beasted” out a :17/:18 (hard to see the swim clock, and I don’t want to overestimate my bttw speed).

I’ve heard from just about every flip-turn (experienced) swimmer I’ve met that runners are known for their lack of kick.  This fact and the fact that running doesn’t translate to biking power either, frustrate me endlessly.  But it is what it is.  I want to be a faster swimmer and I need a stronger kick to get there.  This is how I’ll get there, not more running.

“Does your neck hurt when you do that?”

Kicking Back…asked a young high school swim team member as I finished my first 100 yards of backstroke, ever.

“No, not really.” I replied. Then realizing  she was being incredibly polite I asked, “If I keep swimming like this, will it?” 

“definitely.”

I think I modeled my head position after this otter.  It seems reasonable.  These little guys can swim like crazy and they look cute.  But according to the Milford High School swim team, when humans swim backstroke and crank their heads and necks up this high, it leads to bad things.  The team graciously demonstrated a better head position.

As I attempted to swim like the demonstration, I got completely clear on why I had cranked my head up the first time.  I have no idea where I’m going  and I don’t swim straight going backward.  There are no lane lines in the pool.  Nothing prevented me from swimming right into other swimmers and lanes.  Luckily, it’s a very friendly pool and a few apologies kept me in good graces with my fellow swimmers.

My second backstroke lesson of the day was about how to swim backstroke safely and in a straighter line.  I use the ceiling tiles as my visual guide line.  I use my peripheral vision to look for the ladders which signal that the wall is coming soon.  I always keep one arm up to protect my head from tagging the wall first.

Huzzah! 100 yards of backstroke that felt pretty good.   I understand why my coach has added this stroke to my training.  The workout felt great on my legs and a is nice change from all the freestyle.  The view is going to some getting used to.

“When the student is ready, a teacher will appear.”

Swim – Cruise Finder #1

U R Here

The 1st step in any good planning is to figure out where you are.

My coach, being a really good planner, needs to know where I am with my swimming.  So today’s swim workout was geared to finding my baseline.  Kelsey tells me that this will be my “cruise time”.

Today’s cruise-finder workout:
  • warm-up (my choice – as long as it includes a include 4 x 25 build @ :15 rest (which means I start out easy and increase my speed so I’m sprinting by wall touch.)
  • Cruise-finder: 5 x 100 fast with 2 seconds rest after each 100.
  • cool down (my choice)

My cruise time is: my total time, minus 8 seconds, divided by 5.    8:35/5 = 01:43 /100y

The high school swim coach was nice enough to time me this morning.  He commented that I was exactly at 4:00 at 250y, then I slowed, and then picked my pace back up.  His observations coincided perfectly with how I was thinking.   Just after the half way point, I started to worry that I might not have enough in the tank to finish.  Then that thought led to a bunch of other concerning thoughts.  When I touched the wall with 75 yards to go, I noticed that I wasn’t focused and put my attention back to the task at hand.

My thoughts on today’s workout:
  1. I always feel like I’m swimming so much faster than I really am. 🙂
  2. I really don’t know what I am capable of for the swim.  I know what “all-out” is for running, but no idea for swimming.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone all-out.
  3. Focus and positive thinking is really important under water.
  4.  I wish I could do flip-turns.
  5. I wonder how fast I can get?