Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thursday 07/14-Swim

Thursday's Workout:
OYO Swim
Swim 1000m easy focus on form.  Keep pace consistent and effort level easy.
Run 2 miles out of the pool at Long Run Pace.

Notice that the title has no mention of the run... It's not "OYO Swim/Run"and it's the same swim as completing the crossing of Lucky's Lake and back! Some recovery! I headed to the pool after breakfast on Thursday morning to meet with T who had called to let me know he was already there. We warmed up with a few laps after which I commented that T made swimming "look so easy", he replied "Dude, you make it look so hard!". That set the stage for the remainder of our workout. I soon discovered that T was a member of one of the best public school swim teams in the state of Florida, (he's from the Florida Keys) and had the benefit of 2 olympic coaches on staff... I had known him for a year and never knew this. While I swam T alternated laps with me and watched me in the water, occasionally giving me pointers along the way. While it was not a continuous 1000m swim, I did pick up a few pointers.

I worked a little more on breathing to the left side, which again helps me regulate my breathing, taking more time in general before breaths and slowing down. We also worked on keeping my elbows high and as Coach Ryan always says, "using [your] whole arm as a paddle". T ALSO came to the conclusion that I just DO NOT float...We ran a barrage of tests/exercises to determine my best "floating position" based on the theory that once I had established that, I should have an easier time gliding through the water and slowing down to rest. With each exercise the result was the same... my legs just SINK, like jointed anchors. "No wonder more black people don't swim..." T remarked jokingly, "You have this big ass and legs and they just sink!" What he noticed happening was one of two things... I either had to kick my legs continuously to keep them up in the water, making me tire quickly or worse:cramp; or, if I didn't kick my legs enough they would pull my whole body below the water line while I swam. The result of which is me arching my neck up and THEN to the side whenever I come up for a breath because simply turning to the side won't suffice. This in turn forces my legs to sink even more and the cycle then continues. Now we've identified a problem.. how do I fix it? Oy Vay.

I practiced the breast stroke a bit as a way to allow myself to stop and rest if I get tired in the water... my legs still sink then however and so it's more like a way to regulate my breathing than anything... problem is, I have to kick like hell to get my legs back up when I'm ready to start moving forward again. I need leg floaties!

after we finished our workout, T drove me to my place and I went inside, refueled and prepared to relax when it dawned on m that I had forgotten my 2 mile run... So back outside I went, tired as I was to do my two laps around the complex... my legs were a bit tired but that just made it easier to stay closer to my 10 minute mile pace (9 minutes).

Catching Up Tues. & Wed. 07/12 & 07/13

So, I've been slacking on the blog for the last week. Not as much on my training though... I have to work everything into a nice little routine somehow... That includes my sleep schedule. For some reason (partially due to work). My sleep schedule has been out of whack lately. I get to bed at 4 or 5 am... later a few times and then don't wake up until the afternoon. Or I wake up early forcefully and then can't make it through the  day without a nap. This of course also throws of my eating...ugh... Anyway...

Tuesday's Workout: 
OYO Bike 45minutes or spin class
This is a RECOVERY week. That means all workouts will be done at a lower intensity.
Bike 45-60mins in ZONE2 of your HR monitor. If you do not own a HR monitor this is a nice easy effort, flat course effort 4-5 out of 10. Stay in small chain ring and keep cadence >85.

I woke up Tuesday and was quiet sore from the activities (swim torture) of the day before. I decided to postpone my ride to later in the evening. Well.. the Florida weather had another plan and rain ruined that idea once more... I suppose I could have ridden in the rain but... who wants to do that? I decided to make Tuesday my rest day.

Wednesday was a late start... rough night with the sleeping thing but I was determined to do a bike/run. I had a plan to do it during the day but my backup was the bike in my gym because I have no lights or reflectors on my bike. I discovered that riding for 45 minutes continuously at the same cadence is not as easy as it sounds... Your legs naturally want to slow down, even if you are not tired... If you take your mind off it for a second, they slow down. I pushed through telling myself, "Just 30 minutes more... Just 15 minutes more... Just 2 minutes then cool-down." I made it through, pushed the cadence over 100 at a few points and had to change gears even.

Wednesday's Workout:
Run 30 minutes
Recovery Run.  
This run is at LONG RUN (Recovery) pace.  Keep HR in zone2.  Effort level of 4-5 out of 10.  Hydrate.

I jogged to my apartment as a cool-down and grabbed something to eat, replenished my fluids and waited a few minutes for my neighbor to join me for my run. Our apartment complex is set up in a loop; each loop is approximately .85 miles, if we run all the way to the front of the driveway it's almost exactly 1 mile... pretty convenient. We set a pace for 10 minute miles and within 3 minutes, the workout tracker on my phone was yelling at us that we were ahead of schedule (6-7 minute miles). We tried slowing down, but have you ever tried going slower when you want to go faster? It's even more work! Try it... try, say chewing slower than normal... make a conscious effort to slow down your chewing... It feels so much harder! We ended up doing high knees for a 1/4 of a mile to slow us down a bit. At the end of the workout we were still a few minutes ahead, averaging 8-9 minutes per mile... Oh well.

I made plans with another neighbor and friend of mine "T" who had recently informed me he had been swimming almost every day at the pool to swim together on Thursday morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

07/11- Group Swim aka Recovery Week Torture Day 1

Well... we all thought we were in for a light workout at today's practice... After all, the calendar says "Recovery Week". I suppose we all forgot to consider that our wonderful Coach Beth has a penchant for pain.

Our workout? 200m warmup, consisting of 25m alternating kickboard drills and kickboard "fin" pulls (we place the board between our legs like you would a pull buoy and swim... it ensures you don't twist your lower body in the water by forcing you to lift the weight of the water if the board twists too far.)

Main Set: 800m continuous swim. That's right... 800m! That's 300m more that our swim test, and for those of you quick with the math... 1/2 a mile!

Now, I have quite a bit of difficulty with the kicking thing; partially because I am dense as a stone and partially because I have a hard time keeping my toes pointed in the water. Still, that was the easy part.

After a minute of rest, we began our main set. I was doing OK for the first 200m or so, and then I began slowing down. Coach Beth and Coach Ryan noticed this and began "cheering" me on. I pushed through. 250... 300... I'm pausing at the sides of the pool, doing the breast stroke, gasping for air and bouncing on the bottom of the pool. Coach Beth reminds me that I can't bounce on the bottom of the lake and urges me to keep pushing. "No stopping Jordan!" she shouts, "200 meters! You're in the middle of Lucky's [Lake] now, you can't stop, you've gotta get across, c'mon!". Coach Ryan tells me I just have 4 more laps. "JUST" four more... I take off again. Fighting the water (which apparently is my biggest problem).

Every time I hit the edge my coaches egg me on, "You can do it! No Stopping". So I keep going. I hear Coach Ryan tell me that I have one more lap and I put my head down into the water and SCREAM; I come up for air, take a breath and it feels pretty good, so I do it again, and again for the entire lap... It helped... Noticeably so because Coach Ryan asked me what I did on that last lap... my best lap.

One minute of rest and I'm back in the water; 300m to go. I'm OK on the first lap, but by the second I'm gasping for air again, by the third lap my legs are cramping. Coach Ryan tells me I shouldn't be using my legs that much anyway and that my arms should be doing most of the work, pulling me through the water. Coach Beth tells me to work through it and reiterates to me that I can't stop in the middle of the lake or race. I take of again... Gasp::Breast Stroke (my version of it anyhow, the one where my head goes under each time)::Bounce::Swim. I'm trying so hard to fight the cramp and to not stop.

My teammates are all done with their swims now and chime in to motivate me to keep going. Coach Ryan tells me to "Bring out the rage!". I put my head down and scream in the water again, willing my legs to stay afloat and my body to keep swimming despite the pain in my legs and the desire for more air.  I tell myself that I'm in the middle of the lake and that I just have to get to shore and it will all be over. I finish strong, and Coach Ryan once more tells me that that was my best lap of the set. I'm just glad it's over and that I can stretch my cramping calves and have something to drink.

Coach Ryan gives me a few pointers on being more efficient through proper use of my arms as "paddles" in the water and tells me he will no longer be "nice Coach Ryan" because I have three choices; 1. Be Ready, 2. Be pulled from the race, or 3. Be MedEvaced (sic) from the water at the race. Coach Beth wraps up practice and we discuss nutrition, techniques I need to work on, and other methods of torture to get me swimming right. Bring it on I say. I made a promise to myself and my Coaches that I would do this and I WILL do what it takes.

So much for recovery week...

07/10 Bike/Run Brick

After Saturday's... fun you can rest assured that I had no desire to be out of the house never mind working out. However, we had another epic practice day... 30 mile ride followed by a 2 mile run... at 7am!

Again, I am fairly strong on the bike and this ride, though the West Orange Trail is hillier than the roads we rode the week before, turned out to be a fun ride. The coaches and a few teammates brought some SaltStick and Endurolyte capsules and they DEFINITELY helped with the cramping. I was able to maintain a good pace of somewhere between 16 and 20mph the entire ride (I hit 24 on a few downhills) and did not cramp or feel fatigued the entire way... until the run that is. I stretched and walked a little to relieve the cramping and finished strong.

It turned out to be a great practice for me, and the entire team ROCKED it. Truly an EPIC weekend.

07/09- 500 (1000) Meter Open Water Swim (Test)

I didn't quite make it into the pool for my Thursday "on your own" swim because of thunderstorms and decided to save my energy on Friday for the Epic workout I would have on Saturday for our open water swim test at Lucky's Lake Swim. 500 hundred meters each way... I could barely sleep Friday night because my nerves got worse with every passing hour.

Ibelis made me breakfast in the morning and drove me to the lake. It was a nice morning for a swim, and from the beach, looking across the lake; it didn't seem all that far. "I can do this.” I told myself.

When we finally got into the water, Coach Ryan and Coach Beth stayed close to me, I felt good at the start, but the feeling didn't last too long... The second I started breathing heavily, the nervous energy returned, which as it turns out just makes it EVEN more difficult to breathe. I found myself scanning the water for Coach Beth and the red buoy of salvation. That wouldn't be the last time I found myself doing the same during this swim.

Coach Beth, merciful as she is, gave me a reference point... a floating red buoy in the middle of the lake. I'm quite goal oriented and the marker gave me something to aspire to... I made it there; then she said "Okay, time to head back to the cabana." Oy...

Another few reaches for the red buoy of salvation and a bit of zigzagging later as I was still pulling to the right, I was about 50 meters out from where I started (By the way, I just learned that zigzagging is a real word). "Let go, we've got 50 more meters, you've done this a hundred times, you can do it in your sleep" Coach Beth was shouting... Meanwhile my brain was shouting at me "Why the heck are we doing this, I can't breathe!", and my arm screamed "I'm NOT letting go, you're crazy!!!". "C'mon, you can puke when we get there". How did she know? I let go and swam for dear life, I could se Coach Beth next to me and it helped, I would stop when she did.

The next thing I heard was her telling me to watch out, I looked up and saw people standing, I warily let my feet fall and was relieved to finally feel solid ground. I stumbled up and just sat. My head was pounding, my lungs burned and my legs were weak. I just wanted to lie down. Coach Beth, always the awesome coach she is told me to get up and have myself a recovery drink. I pulled myself together and got up to get myself a Mix 1.

By the way, if you haven’t yet, you should try this stuff... It's amazing like a perfect smoothie with just about everything you need before or after a workout, or anytime really. I say this as I hold up a mental sign saying, "Will work for Mix 1".

Now back from our commercial break...

I asked Ibelis to accompany me to the restroom. I could barely walk, it felt like someone was hammering a nail between my eyes and my stomach was doing cartwheels. I had to sit halfway there. I got my relief after a while and returned to the group to fill out paperwork... I still wasn't feeling 100% but the worst was over...

Or so I thought...Let’s just say that it resumed once I got home…


Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to...

I don't know exactly what this is yet... It's a way for me to chronicle my journey... to hopefully help raise funds for what I consider to be a worthy cause and one I truly hold dear (read: peddle donations for charity)... a way to keep me on track with my training, whine about how hard that training is and feel like people care.

What I do know is that I had the urge to use my talent of writing to further my cause and to increase awareness of what I set out to do and why.

My only expectation? That SOMETHING good comes of this.