Tag: winter

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.

Thanksgiving Workout

WOW! That was cold!Your Workouts for Thursday, November 28

Workout #1: Crazy Polar Bear Bippy-Freezing!
Type: Other
Description: Have fun, crazy lady!
Pre-Activity Comments: WOW! That was cold!

The 34th Annual Thanksgiving swim. I’m not sure why the tradition began.  Duxbury beachThe swim takes place at Duxbury Beach in Massachusetts (New England cold). Our swim location is a stone’s throw from where the pilgrims set ground, before being able to make their way into Plymouth harbor.  I’m sure some of the pilgrims fell in the water and got cold. So possibly we’re re-enacting?  This is doubtful.  It’s certainly the result of mixing beer and otherwise clear thinking 35 years ago.

The 2013 swim was one of the coldest.  Many years the air and water are actually warm enough for people to run in 2 or 3 times.  We have scads of photos through the years of people hanging out on the beach afterward and socializing. (One of my favorites is of my dad, in his bathing suit, talking to my grandmother in her big, warm winter coat.)

Thanksgiving SwimWhy swim? It’s impossible to make this seem like a wise choice, but there is something wonderful about a group of people rallying early on Thanksgiving morning to spend time together.  There’s something special about hanging out with a gang of all ages (from 8 to 70 this year) that counts to three then runs into the freezing ocean roaring like polar bears. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

Workout #2: Happy Thanksgiving!
Type: Other
Description: Thank you for being an awesome, inspiring athlete and thank you so much for giving me the honor of coaching you!

Workout #3: Gratitude, Play with Family
Type: Other
Description: Play, play, play, play. Love life!
Pre-Activity Comments: Mission complete.  A wonderful holiday and many, many reasons to be grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving 2103.

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.

hill. repeat. hill.

Hill elevation profile“What goes up – must come down.
And then go up and come back down, again.”
8 x :30 uphill surge (fast, focus on powering with your butt)/ 3:00 easy

There may be something wrong with me.  I loved everything about this workout.

It was cold. (34 degrees) I needed to layer up in my winter gear.  The first cold run is the hardest.  I always get it too hot or too cold.  I was overdressed – I didn’t need a thermal base layer, yet.  I know that just  2 posts ago I was complaining about having to put on mittens, but I remembered last night that I really enjoy running in the cold.*

It was dark.  I’m not a fan of the short days.  And I’m not quite adjusted. This was not an intentional night run, I forgot. Just poor planning on the timing of the workout.  But off I went with my head lamp and my lovely blinking safety vest. (I’ m threatening my kids with getting one that blinks: “I’m  Will & Hannah’s mom”).

It was hard. In the middle of the second surge uphill I was thinking that 5 repeats might be a little more reasonable to start, but I pushed out all 8.  When I was finished, every bit of my body felt like it had been worked hard.  My arms, core, legs, and butt were fully engaged in the effort.  As was my focus and intention.

The cool down run home, blinking away in the dark, felt glorious.

I think one of the reasons I like cold weather, winter running is that the pollen is finally gone. My asthma and breathing is so much better.  Very cold air can present issues, but I’m good until well below freezing. 

Running Mittens

running mittensWorkout : Endurance Run
Planned Duration: 1:20
Keep your pace exceedingly easy throughout

“Exceedingly easy”is not my favorite.  I find it exceedingly hard to run exceedingly easy. For at least 5 of the 9 miles, I rationalized that this fact negated the entire assignment .
I hate not following my coach’s directions more than I hate running exceedingly easy.  So I toughed it out, but not easily.

The fact that it was also the first mitten run of the 2013-3104 winter training season, probably didn’t improve my running attitude.  I’m not ready for the layers, and they’re coming soon. If I could run harder than “exceedingly easy” I’m sure I’d be able to generate more body warmth.

(OK, that last line may have been a dig for my coach – not that she’s cold right now – in lovely Florida. 🙂 Good luck at Rev3 Venice today, coach!)