Checking in

I wasn’t on fire last night at swim practice. Maybe that’s what I get for not having swum in two weeks. I had some really nice, fluid moments but I also found myself fighting against the current for a lot of it. It’s been a while since I shared a lane with more than four people or so and we were all going at a good clip and sloshing up the pool. It was a struggle to keep up and I even had some muscle fatigue. Kind of weird since I didn’t have that at the last practice, which was harder. Oh well, it happens!

Warm-up
100 free
200 – 50 kick, 50 swim, 50 kick, 50 swim
150 free pull

Main Sets
2 * 100 free working on stroke count – I can’t remember ever doing stroke counts in 12 years of swimming (maybe once or twice many years ago?) so I was surprised to learn something new! My comfortable stroke per length count was about 17-18. If I really stretched it out I was at 15-16.
2 * 150 working on stroke count – I was able to reduce stroke count on each 50 of the first 150 but struggled to stretch out enough while maintaining speed to reduce on the second 150. I’ve always had a slightly fast turnover.

2 * 200 free
5 * 150 free, last 50 easy….I sat out a 50
4 * 75 – 25 drill, 25 swim, 25 sprint

Cool Down
150 swim

Total swum: 2500 yards
Total comments on my suit: 2

Gotta say, the cut of the sushi suit leaves a bit to be desired. In the future I will stick with Dolfin Uglies as I find the cut to be generous and comfortable. This ClubSwim suit goes a bit high on the legs in the front and definitely shows some butt in the back. It also comes a bit low in the chest (not a huge issue for me as I don’t have a lot there) and cuts in on the chest sides as well. The lower back cut is very flattering and the straps are comfortable but I did find myself pulling and tugging on the rest of the suit.

This morning I went to the gym for 30 min. strength training. I don’t think I’m a morning weights person. I can do morning cardio and perform acceptably and feel good afterward but I felt like I lacked strength this morning. Evenings seem to be my ideal lifting period. I’ve had time to build up glycogen stores throughout the day and at that point I’m looking to seriously decompress after work. Lesson learned!

I also had my body fat % measured this morning. I do that every once in a while to basically make sure I’m not eating too much chocolate along with my veggies. I was down quite a bit in the three different areas measured (upper arm, abs, thigh), especially abs. In May I was measured at 23%. Today I was down to about 20.5%. Wow! I weigh the same as I did then and simply didn’t expect such a drastic change. Must be all of my swimbikerun. I am officially (barely) in athletic range. W00t! I am happy at my current weight and I really don’t work out to lose fat anymore (although additional firming up and muscle definition is always welcome and is basically the result of lost fat). However, it is a nice side effect of my efforts. 🙂

Looking forward to my tempo run tonight!

Hello, hello.

Training for the last week and a half (note: all runs include a 1 min. walk break after each mile):

Friday, 9/4 – 30 min. strength training

Saturday, 9/5 – easy 4 mile run… Not going to lie, this was rough. I did a poor job of hydrating/fueling beforehand, didn’t bring anything with me, and went out during the heat of the day so by the time I was done, I felt light-headed and kind of sick. Went home and slowly rehydrated and ate. I kept a 10:46 avg. pace, right around the 10:53 my plan called for.

Splits:
Mile 1 – 10:21
Mile 2 – 10:53
Mile 3 – 10:50
Mile 4 – 10:59

Sunday, 9/6 – Rest

Monday, 9/7 – easy 2 mile run in the morning, 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 – 10:11
Mile 2 – 10:55
Avg. pace – 10:33

Tuesday, 9/8 – Rest – The plan was to join up with the local tri team for swim practice but that afternoon I suddenly started feeling really nauseous, headachey, dehydrated, tired. So I skipped and took a nap. I’m thinking it may have been exhaustion even though I don’t feel like my workouts are enough to wear me out so much. Bodies have a funny way of communicating with you.

Wednesday, 9/9 – 3 mile easy run in the morning (I needed the endorphins to get me through a lunchtime dentist appointment!), 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 – 10:21
Mile 2 – 1o:55
Mile 3 – 10:53
Avg. pace – 10:43

Thursday, 9/10 – Rest – Met with my event planning partner and a bride with an upcoming wedding to go over last-minute details. No time to work out. After Tuesday’s episode, I decided extra rest this week was probably a good thing. I’m all for HTFU and was a card-carrying member as a teenage athlete but I’m trying to break that mindset now. I keep reading articles and books that emphasize a healthy balance of rest and easy training along with hard workouts in order to maximize results so I’m trying it out.

Friday, 9/11 – 30 min. strength training, 10 miles on the stationary bike. I’ve been feeling bad about how much I’m neglecting my bike. It was dark out so that’s better than nothing, right? Holy crap, talk about sore sit bones.

Saturday, 9/12 -easy 5 mile run. This time I was sufficiently fueled and waited until the early evening to do my run so the weather was just perfect for running. I felt so good that I had a hard time holding back to keep the 10:53 pace my plan calls for. I felt like I could have gone a lot faster. I know it’s important to build my aerobic fitness but I’m pumped that next week marks the beginning of faster paced runs!

Nutrition: I ate normally beforehand and had a GU (carbs) immediately afterward, then some sips of Powerade (carbs) when I got home followed by a meal replacement shake (some carbs, lot of protein). I was trying to reach a 2:1 ratio of carbs to proteins for post-workout recovery fuel. I’m out of my favorite powdered recovery shake but have reordered and it’s on the way.

Mile 1 – 10:33
Mile 2 – 9:58
Mile 3 – 10:50
Mile 4 – 10:33
Mile 5 – 11:01
Avg. pace – 10:35

Sunday, 9/13 – 15.5 miles biked trying to keep an aerobic HR so my avg. speed was pretty low. Nutrition: low sugar granola bar & water during the ride as I felt my blood sugar dipping, then a mixture of carbs and protein via whatever I had on hand at home.

On an equipment front, my new sushi swimsuit arrived and it’s pretty sweet. I can tell the quality of the suit (ClubSwim – mostly nylon) is a bit lower than the Dolfin Uglies suit I have, which is mostly polyester. However, for a super fun $21 practice suit, it’s totally worth it! I can’t wait to wear it this week.

My Xterra sale wetsuit also arrived and I really like it. I’m a little concerned about the neck tightness but I keep hearing that all wetsuits are like that and that it will ease up a bit in the water. I need to test this. In the meantime, I feel like a plastic superhero!

In biking news, I’m struggling a bit. Reasons:

– I am scared of cars.
– I suck at changing gears although I’m a little better after the short tutorial my friend gave me.
– I am not very fast – I don’t think I have adequate leg power.
– I don’t know what I don’t know and I don’t have anyone around on a regular basis to guide me. Most of my cycling friends are either WAY above me or have completely packed schedules.

Basically, I have no confidence in myself because I feel sort of like I’m floundering. I *hate* this feeling so I dread riding my bike. It shouldn’t be that way.

I talked to D about it and came up with a couple of temporary solutions:

– I am going to buy a bike trainer for the winter. The #1 thing that stands in my way between riding and not riding is my fear of cars. The #2 thing is daylight/weather. I will be much more likely to ride my bike if I remove these two hurdles. I’m going to try to find a good used one.
– I will try to start attending one or two spinning classes per week at the gym after my races are over.
– I may hire a temporary cycling coach to give me some pointers and feedback on where I’m doing well and where I’m falling short.

As I get stronger and more comfortable on my bike, my confidence should increase. As my confidence grows, I will probably be more likely to seek out group rides and road riding again. I know a trainer is not a perfect substitute for road riding but, seriously, right now I think this is the best way to get me on the bike more often.

I realized today that the way I feel about biking is probably similar to how a lot of triathletes feel about swimming. I read about their struggles and breakdowns and fears and constant working, working, working to improve. This is how I feel about the bike right now. I am afraid I won’t conquer it enough to get me to where I want to be.

However, on a positive note, my running is coming along really well. That 5 mile run I did yesterday was the farthest I’ve gone in 10 years. How about that! 🙂 My fitness and breathing felt so good yesterday. I’m becoming better acquainted with the subtle signals my body gives when my HR reaches the high 160’s. I’m learning how to tackle hills. The best part? My knees continue to feel awesome! I get a little bit of achiness in the last mile of these long Saturday runs but once I finish and walk they’re fine. I keep hearing my physical therapist’s words, “As long as the pain is at a 4 or less, go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing.” I’d say the pain is a 1, maybe a 2 max in that last half mile. I stretch and ice afterward and they’re golden. LOVES IT!

On the racing front, I have officially signed up for the Richmond Sprint Tri. W00t! Can’t wait. I finally bit the bullet after attempting to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K on Friday only to be denied. AGH. I was soo disappointed because I’d decided that would be the perfect venue for my first 10K. I’d been on the site the day before and it was open. Anyway, that lit the fire under me and I immediately got my spot at the tri before that sold out, too.

Crossing my fingers that a spot in the MCM 10K will open up soon. I would really, really like to run it. Otherwise I’ll have to find another 10K that weekend.

I’m leaving you with this pretty souvenir from my 11 mile ride last week. Eat it up, roadies!

I couldn’t resist.

I couldn’t resist. I’ve been looking for yummy sushi pajamas after (Geek Alert) Buffy wore them in “Goodbye Iowa,” Season 4, so when I found this I knew it was a match made in chlorinated heaven. Source: Swimoutlet.com.

Pretty.

My new swim suit arrived today! This is the first racing suit I’ve bought since probably 2001ish. I’m trying to shed my old habit of doubling up on worn-out suits for practice to create drag and get more use out of them. I have been informed that it’s very passe. The two suits I have left in good shape no longer fit me because I have (barely) developed hips since I bought them many moons ago.

I’m really pleased with the cut and construction of this suit. The material is a polyester mix and the seams seem solid. The legs aren’t cut extremely high as some suits are, it fits nicely around the mid-section, nicely around the back and butt (no wedgies), and flatters what boobage I have. One thing I will note is that the sizing is a little small as is often the case with racing suits. According to their sizing chart, I should be wearing a 30 or 32, but I ordered a 34 and it just fits (which is good, it will stretch out over time). I wouldn’t go any smaller.

I haven’t had a Dolfin suit before but I’m happy with it so far. Especially for less than $30! We’ll just have to see how it performs in the pool.

Excuse the tiredness…this is after work and a trip to the gym.

Dolfin Uglies, you may have just become my new friend.