Thursday, July 28, 2011

Open Water Masters Class

After two failed attempts to make this class I did it and I am glad. After waking up shortly after four, I grabbed my pre-packed swim bag and headed out the door. Then i turned around and went back in to grab my towel and the wetsuit still sitting on the floor. I made the hour trip south to a house on a dead end road in Huntersville, NC. I was early so I sat in the car until someone else got there. I had no idea where I was going. It was so dark i could not even see any water around.

Almost in concert the rest of my classmates arrived and I followed them down the side of the drive way to a dock behind the house. Turns out the house was directly on the lake. I introduced myself to the 6 women who were my classmates as the instructor arrived. Then I introduced to myself to the instructor and we talked about why I am there. I noticed no other wetsuits so I asked about the water temp as i pointed to mine and they laughed.

We laid out pull buoys and paddles, then jumped in the 91 degree lake (I checked).

First off the instructor gave us a safety briefing that she was going to stay to our left in the kayak and then she pointed across the lake and said. "See that dock with the green roof swim to it as your warm up". My sighting sucked but I kept up with the group.

Then she said now scull to the dock with the black roof.

Once there she began explaining to us proper form at the beginning of the stroke and about aggressive hand entry- while making us tread water. Now swim back across the lake to the house with the red boat and practice the entry.

At this point I was getting very tired. I got there just in time to hear swim down three docks to where we started. I missed what we were working on I was so far behind.

Once we were back to the dock we tread water for a moment. I honestly can't remember what she talked about. We grabbed pull buoys and worked on our pull going back across the lake.

I was late again and just caught the directions. Use the pull buoy as a kick board and kick for thirty second, then place it between your legs and then pull 30 strokes without sighting, then repeat. I missed what the point was, but thought it was neat that until I got tired I was dead on without sighting. I also noticed that when kicking I got left behind, but when pulling I caught up and even passed part of the group.

Once back we put on paddles and then went across again, tread water, and returned. This was my first time with paddles and thought they are a little hard to use. I think they are more fatiguing than swimming without.

Once we took them off we swam out to the middle to practice our turning around the kayak. Then on to another dock. I stalled for a moment and she asked if  I needed help getting the paddles off, I said no I needed to catch my breath. She responded by whispering to me "don't worry there's only 8 more minutes"

During the next short swim she pulled the kayak up to me to watch my stoke. As she told me she was watching me I swallowed water and stopped- go figure! At the turn around she stopped me and said "you are doing just what I thought you were, you have perfect form above the water but once you get halfway through your stoke your elbow collapses backwards. You also do not have an end to your stroke. You need to keep pushing until you get to your hips, right now you are just taking your hand out of the water"

I worked on this on the last turn for the day, and when I got there she told me that it was perfect. I honestly could feel more power on the end and was keeping up with the group.

When we got out she told me I had a very powerful pull and that will be my strength.

Overall I really enjoyed this, it was a great workout, the instructor gave me good feedback, and it was really fun to swim with a group. There was not time for socializing but it was nice to be around others for once.

Lesson Learned: Strong pull but it can be better. I think that if it is good enough to gain on swimmers who were 100 yards ahead of me, that once I get a solid kick too I will be doing very well. This class also did a lot for my general comfort level plus sighting became instinctual. I can't wait to try it again next week!   

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Live Happy

Today I was going to write about my first open water masters swim class, however after my swim and run I was paged by the chief of my rescue team that an associate of the team had passed away yesterday evening so this changed my focus for the day.

We were not best friends, but he was a man I had a great deal of respect for.

He was placed in hospice yesterday and I made plan to go visit him Friday, but sadly I do not have the chance now.

It got me to thinking. He was not an old man at 50, I last saw him in October when he was in a class I was teaching, there were no visual health problems. We conducted a swim test and he did fine. We did some open water swimming and he had no problems.

Although I may wine, bitch, and celebrate when I write on this blog, but in really life I am generally stoic. I am not sad, I will not shed tears, but I will mourn respectfully with the belief when its your time, its just your time.

MOST IMPORTANTLY this has given me some inspiration for self reflection, I have thought about how my grandfather had a heart attack at 40.  This reminds me that life is finite. This reminder leaves two thoughts resonating. First and most important in general, live a life that leaves a legacy. Secondly but more directed toward my current situations, do things that make you happy. I feel that I have done a lot, but will continue to do more, in the first area though rescue, ems, law enforcement, swat, church and more. However, in 10 years if I have a similar turn of fate to my grandfather, then it would be a shame that I lived the last 15 years of my life unhappy.

I hope anyone who reads this today will take a moment of self reflection and then hug a loved one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From Beginner Triathlete

"Beer is a plant-based beverage that offers anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Marathoners who drank 1 to 1.5 liters of non-alcoholic beer per day for three weeks prior to a marathon and two weeks after the marathon experienced less post-race inflammation and fewer colds. Non-alcoholic beer offers a wise way to enjoy the natural high of exercise along with positive health benefits"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Week

In February I began talks with a coach to plan this season. I signed up for a 6 month training plan. During the 6 months I have had many a missed workouts because of work and other real lif issues. I have had the flue, had an injury, had surgery, raced two sprints, raced my first oly, dropped to three races from the schedule for different reasons, and learned a lot.

Today begin the last full week of training in 6 months. Next week is taper and then my last tri of the season. This week still holds hard workouts, but in typical fashion I will be making up yesterdays workout in addition today. I opted not to run 8 miles in a lightning storm. I am looking forward to a good week. That will make one swim, one long brick, one core workout, and one strength workout today. I plan to make every workout count this week!

 I am already thinking about what to do with my time and where to take my training. I know nothing about maintenance, but i would like to put special attention into my swim, and a little extra love on the bike, a marathon might be nice too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just Checking In

It has been almost a month since my last post, I am still out here.

I thought when having my surgery I would bounce right back and have some fun time off. In fact, the opposite happened and I had to take extra time off. I was out for a week, returned for one, day and was out 4 more days. Oddly, my doctor said I should have be fine. However, I was unable to eat anything solid for 11 days, and had pain so bad I was sent home from work for not having any focus. Once I had feeling in my face again, it felt like it was in a vise grip Very concerned, CB and I did some research and everything we read sounded just like nerve damage.

I went back to work last week and it was a rough week. I had to catch up on all the things that I was behind on. I still haven't finished.

Over the course of surgery recovery, my weight dropped to near 170. However last week since I had not been cleared to train yet, doc said not to get my core temp up, I spent my free time focused on two new business ventures (things are tough without help!) and CB was working late with a summer camp so we ate out everynight and my weight subsequently came back to 181 over a week.

Due to lack of training I did not race as schedule Saturday. I am glad because I swam for the first time yesterday and my jaw was killing me when I got out. Seems like the water pressure did a number on me. I think that would have made racing tough Saturday.

I now have 3 weeks to concentrate on my last race of the season- Lake Logan International Distance Triathlon. This is a qualifier for age group national championships.

Even though I spent many hours devoted to writing business plans, researching marketing, trying to put together a list of leads, etc. I was also thinking about fitness. I spent some time researchin swim workouts and am going to try to add some workouts from crossfit endurance to my training for a little boost. I also signed up for an open water masters class that runs through the summer on Wednesday mornings. I am looking forward to that. Hopefully that will at least get me accustomed to open water swimming and the extra workouts will get me faster :)

Last note- last night since my swim sucked. I went out for a 10 mile TT on the bike. I got it in 29:44 and 40% of the course was climbing. One more goal for the year checked off!