Tag: training

My happy pace

Wednesday December 18, Workout #2: Base Run with Drills
Planned Duration: 0:55
Description: 15 min gradual warm-up Base effort throughout
End with 4 x (:15 skipping/ :15 jog/ :15 grapevine/ :15 jog) 

text to coach

Post-activity comments: This is my happy pace. I love this. When I run like this (without a watch) I think to myself about a hundred times – “I love to run”. My arms are low and swing happy & free. My hands are easy. My face is relaxed. I smile and wave a lot. I feel like the ambassador for running & endorphins. My actual pace varies. It’s faster downhill, like a 6 year old running down a hill.  It’s slower uphill. If I’m still thinking”I love to run”, without wanting to yell at myself or throw my toys, that’s my happy pace.

My happy pace. It makes everything seem ok. What swim? 🙂

All in a winter’s swim

Lap pool5:00 am: Wake up. Check the pool website.  Yes! The pool is open for morning swim. 

5:05 am: Tip toe downstairs in the dark. Praise the joy of a remote car starter. Oh, right…the car is covered in half a foot of new snow. First workout: shovel to and remove snow from car.

5:25 am: Car is clean enough.  I can see out the windows and won’t be “that SUV” that dumps snow on all the cars behind me. (not sure of the risk this early, but I feel like a good citizen)

5:45 am: Arrive at pool. Run out of car. A fellow swimmer has slipped and fallen in the snow. It is one of the pool’s “most experienced” swimmers.  She has someone helping her up, but I stay with them to make sure she’s ok.  She’s not hurt badly.  She shares that the most damage was to her pride. The first inspiring moment of the day: Here she is at the pool in the dark before 6 am.  There’s over half a foot of new snow on the ground.  There are only 4 other cars in the lot. She has dusted herself off and is heading in to do the swim she came to do. She just turned 87 and she is so AWESOME! (I make a mental note to be this awesome when I’m 87)

5:55 am: Enter the water. Wow! It’s so warm, almost hot. It’s like bath water, very relaxing, but I note that it feels problematic for the time I was hoping to get for my “cruise-finder” this morning.

6:05 am: Notice that my fellow non-flip-turn swimmer, Jeff, is becoming a flip-turner. I watch him somersault in the deep end several times.  I then witness him complete 2 very smooth turns in the deep end. I applaud. The second inspiring moment of the day: I am so impressed by his tenacity and by how well he’s executing the turns. If Jeff can be brave enough to try, maybe I will. He is so AWESOME! (I make another mental note to be this awesome soon)

6:15 am: 1000 yard warm-up complete. Dave’s ready with the stopwatch and the lap numbers at the far end of the pool. I go. The first 100 felt smooth, I felt good, but warm. The second 100 felt okay.  The third, I just felt sluggish and anything but smooth or coordinated. I start repeating in my head, “I’m a strong swimmer, I’ve got this, I’m a strong swimmer.” Things came back together. I felt more coordinated to the finish, but didn’t get much speed from my BTTW finish. I didn’t hold back. I was exhausted. Not as fast as I want to be, but spent.

6:25 am:  My 500 time was 8:40. 5 seconds slower than my time from 5 weeks ago. I feel very disappointed. My 100 split times told the same story as my feelings.  (1=1:34, 2=1:42, 3=1:55, 4=1:44, 5=1:45)I was hoping for a little progress. A sign that the hard work was paying off. Today, the sign isn’t going to come from my time.

6:30 am: I start my 400 yard cool down of choice. I know I need to shake it off. I know that I am getting stronger and feeling stronger. My disappointment feels like slime, like defeat. I focus on how the water feels moving over my skin and I keep moving.  I’m calming my thoughts. Like with all disappointing results, I shift into analytic mode. +5 seconds. It’s only 1 second per 100.  It’s not awful.  What did I really hope for? I didn’t know. I hadn’t been clear. I just knew I wanted “better.” Crap.

7:00 am: Drive home. I’m now in determined mode.  I want to ask my coach for specific interval drills to remedy this.  My speed/endurance needs practice.  I’m back into intent. This result isn’t a setback; it’s feedback.  What I do with it is my choice.  And I choose to harness it as motivation to get faster.  The third inspiring moment of the morning: This was becoming one of my fastest recoveries to date. I drive home, still thinking and analyzing. Still doubting my abilities and frustrated. But I also know that it’s in me to get faster. It occurs to me that this is actually the exact motivation that I need for my swimming. This is so awesome!

Now am: Sit down and look at split times. Finally, in hindsight I can figure out that a second faster per 100 would have felt like good progress to me. And this means I went out faster than I could maintain. With less disappointment, I can see that 4 of 5 100s were better than this target. I can also see a whole lot of progress since last spring. (I make a third mental note: remember that I do better when I know my goal, clearly. )
Here it is plainly: I will swim 1:43 per 100, for 500 yards. (I’m still working on when)

For the love of gore-tex

messy roadsTreadmill, oh how I loathe thee.

My sister has trained for whole marathons on a treadmill. I have no idea how.  4 minutes into a treadmill run and I’m looking for my escape. If there’s even a faint possibility of being able to run outside (reasonably safely) in the winter, I seize it.

Luckily, I’ve collected a solid assortment of New England Winter weather gear. Yesterday was mid-20s and quite windy.  Time for the Craft thermal base layer and the Gore Windstopper jacket. This is one of the coldest running outfits I use. After that I add the fleece lined wool hat, neck gator, & additional tank base layer.  After that it’s the treadmill.

The roads were not great. I fit in 7 miles into just over an hour & 5 minutes of running and completely disregarded the “surges”. About a mile of the route would have been safer with Yaktrax, but there were 3+ miles where pavement was exposed, so I felt OK having left them behind.  The wind was freezing on my exposed face, but my core was warm enough. I had waited until lunchtime to run – in order for the sun to be at its highest and strongest. This would provide the day’s maximum ice melting for the roads.  On a crisp fall day, I can cross paths with many runners at lunchtime.  Yesterday I crossed only one – the roads and the mush were ours alone.

December 16: Workout #2: Endurance Run w/ surges
Planned Duration: 1:10
Description:  20 min gradual warm-up Include a 30 sec surge every 15 minutes
Focus on good form with a strong core throughout

Post-activity comments: Decided not to “Focus on good form with a strong core throughout” – opted to focus on black ice, slush puddles, & foot placement. This I did successfully, I’m happy to report.

23 degrees and a bike

Winter on the trainer23, that’s it.

It wasn’t going to get any warmer today. The coach declared today a bike day and the trainer was waiting. It takes me several private pep talks to overcome my frozen inertia.

Workout #1: Bike
Planned Duration: 1:05
15 min gradual warm-up
 this was funny… there was no chance of a “rapid warm-up”.

On a whim I grabbed a DVD that turned out to be perfect for today’s ride.  Wayne’s World, an 80’s cinematic classic.  The Bohemian Rhapsody scene came on just in time finish off the warm up.  Mike Meyers & Dana Carvey car jammin’ out to Queen could not have been timed better. After some head-bopping, trainer jammin’, I felt ready for the rest of the workout.

I do like that my trainer is in the fresh air, once I get warm.  I like to be outside in the winter. This is a good thing since there’s no room in the house to keep the bike set up and if the bike wasn’t ready to go, it would be way to easy for my skip it.  So, it is what it is. And a workout done is better than none.

InTent workout in winter
InTent Winter Workout

Monday morning swim, not.

Pool in the dark The 5:10 alarm was unwelcome this morning.

The bed was warm and cozy and begging me to stay.  The grinding sound of the salt trucks gave me hope…maybe a school cancellation…? Then the pool would be closed.  No luck.

The driving wasn’t too bad. I was happy to see that the parking lot was just sparsely covered with cars.  I figured I was about to reap the benefits of my dedication and maybe have an entire lane to myself.

We waited. And we waited. Our numbers started dwindling and then it occurred to me that all of the die-hard, AM lap swimmers were missing. Wait a minute – something was up.

So it turns out, there is a website for the community use pool:

Lap swimming cancelled

Oh, how I wish I had just given in to the call of the flannel sheets this morning.

She hits the wall

swim gogglesToday’s workout: humility

In previous posts, I’ve presented some of my initial challenges with swimming on my back: Does your neck hurt when you do that? 

I’ve also celebrated my progress and ability to predict the end of the pool by watching ceiling tiles: Procrastination & BTTW

Today, my neck was in a great position.  I was swimming in a reasonably straight line – tracking with the ceiling tiles.  I easily spotted the broken tiles which signaled the end of the lane. I completely failed to extend my arm.

Bam. Right into the wall.

I kid you not.