Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Summary of Week Three

I am trying to document my journey as often with as much detail as possible. However, with working 10 plus hour days and training, I barely have a moment. Last week was the base line testing phase of my training. I did several tests that would give my coach an idea of where I am. Last Thursday, my local YMCA was closed and I had to travel to the Dowd YMCA. It boasts it’s the largest YMCA in the Carolinas. I chose this Y because they advertised they had a cold water pool and it as the closest YMCA, I thought, to my home.

So, off I travel excited about the cold water pool. I swim, on occasion at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center (MAC or “mack”) and their pools are unheated. Typically when I swim there I have awesome swims; likely because of the cooler water temperature. I decided against swimming at the MAC because I had strength training following the swim. Therefore, the Dowd it was.

I changed out and made my way to the pool. Just on observation I knew which pool was the cold water pool and which was heated. The heated pool was absolutely crowded while the cold-water pool had only a few people. I felt like this YMCA was the epicenter of triathletes in Charlotte. The guys swimming here did not have the build of swimmers i.e. long thin bodies. These guys were ripped; talk about feeling out of place! Geesh! I could also overhear these guys talking about triathlon training.

The cold water pool was also 9 feet deep which was awesome. I was looking forward to jumping in deep water without panicking. It would be the first time for me to jump in deep water with out being terrified about how far from safety I was. So, I excitedly jump in!! Man was the water cold. Not only cold it was FREEZING! I thought I would get some warm-up laps in and swam two hundred yards. I could barely put together a hundred yards. It was awful. Then I saw the temperature of the pool. 74 degrees! Even in triathlon you can wear a wetsuit at 74 degrees. I tried my hardest just to put a couple of laps together and it was just not working for me.

I reluctantly went over to the warm pool. After being in the 74 degree water, the 84 degree water felt like a hot tube. I put in a hundred yards there and I was done. My spirit and body was just broken on this day. Needless to say, there was no strength training following this swim; just a horrible drive home. This swim set me back mentally because I became inundated with the “what if’s”. What if New Orleans 70.3 swim is this cold? What if, what if, what if? I just beat myself up all the way home. The next day I had given myself some positive affirmations. “The swim in NO wont be as unpleasant as the cold water pool. I will have a wetsuit. I will have improved buoyancy. I can draft.” I don’t know if this is true considering I have never swum in a wetsuit but this is what I told myself.

Two days later, I decided to have “take 2” for the Critical Swim Speed test which consisted of a warm-up and the actual test. This time around I decided to go to the Jewish Community Center to use their pool. The test was approximately half the distance of the Half Ironman Swim. It took about 20 minutes to conduct this test. This, in my opinion, is not that great. It’s a really slow swim. Considering I just learned how to swim a few months ago, I am excited about it! Why, because it’s passing! Lol. My Ironman goal is to swim 2.4 miles in 1hr 20mins. Matt Hoover (the Biggest Loser contestant) swam Kona Ironman in 1:30. I think 1:20 is a reasonable goal. Judging by this time, I am on pace for my goal.

The hardest part, for me, about swimming distance is learning how to pace myself (among other things). It took years to know what my running pace is. Now I instinctively know running pace and can run it on any given Sunday. Swimming is very new and unfamiliar so finding “my” pace is going to be a challenge. Needless to say, I am still very, very concerned about the swimming. My next step is to get a swim technique analysis. Gotta find some overtime quick! I just don’t know how I will find time to ever work it.

The testing also included a 3 mile run test. It was conducted on a treadmill and included a 2 mile warm-up with some intervals. This was followed by the actual test; a 3 mile run. I ran a nine minute mile for 4 miles on a treadmill not so long ago so I felt confident I could do the run at an 8:30 pace. Now I’m not a fast guy so that is smoking fast for me.


"We may see some records broken today"

While performing the warm-up, I was instructed to go really, really slow; I did. I was doing like a 12 minute mile and for the intervals cranked it up to 9 or 8:30 min miles. There was a larger gentleman that came in and ran next to me. He got on his treadmill and began running next to me. I saw him several times during my warm-up looking at my speed on the treadmill. Meanwhile, he was running it up! I was impressed such a big guy could run the way he did for as long as he did. He probably ran a 10:30 min mile for a half mile or so. Any who, I know he was comparing speeds, which I hoped motivate him to run harder. He was clearly outrunning me at this point. He looked at my speed like every 30 seconds to see how fast I was going. We humans, always using others to see how well we are doing! (I’m guilty of it too I know).

Then I cranked it up. I did the three mile run in 25:45 which is about what my goal was. Ya’ll, that run took every bit of life that I had! I was done after that run; DONE, done! My heart rate during that run was really high! Between 170 and 174bpm. I was satisfied with my effort on this run. I feel confident it my best effort.

1 comment:

  1. It's really interesting to read your blog... Even though I am usually privy to all of your work out stuff I don't get to know all the details that are going on in your head until I read them here!!! LOL! I'm glad you bounced back from the "cold water swim shock"... no sense beating yourself up over any challenges or set backs....they are all valuable parts of the journey! Think of Rudy not finishing on the bike on time and then going on to finish an Ironman 6 weeks later (With no legs!!!). Yours is a story of struggle and triumph and that's what makes you special....I love how you embrace the challenges and let them motivate you push through....this is why you will be an Ironman!