Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hey Look! Arms!

So this morning in the pool my coach Jacki and I at last reached the point of acknowledging that I do in fact have arms and it might make sense to involve them in my stroke.  Which after weeks of working on nothing but balance position and kicking felt pretty good.  However after finally finding and imprinting my balance position we then went and screwed it all up by starting to introduce arm movements and hip rotation.  Which of course once again has led to my front half's desire to sink.  Its a shame you have to breath while swimming really.  I'd do quite well swimming freestyle three feet underwater. 

So for the next two weeks while I'm away I'll be working on kick drills of escalating difficulty and speed, and my new one armed freestyle drill with an exagerated hip and leg rotation while trying to keep my shoulders as square as possible and my body as level as possible in the water.  If I happen to manage to get that one side correct then I can start working on the other side, and eventually on rotating back and forth between the two.

The exciting bit about today though were two drills we worked on briefly.  The first being a "water polo" drill which involves keeping your head above water and propelling yourself forwards by doing a sort of freestyle arm movement.  Which once we got that right we did the same thing only with my head underwater.  Which was the first time I really felt the sensation of a vaguely freestyle like form with ok body position.  It was pretty cool to feel the sensation of propulsion and it sort of felt like a brief glimpse of what is to come.  But I think those drills were just to show Jacki where I was at with arm movements and perhaps strength.  I got the impression that I was not to do them on my own, and that I should work on the other drill.

So after Jacki and I finished up I did another twenty minutes in the pool trying to get the one armed freestyle drill correct without too much success.  I've found sometimes its best to give up for a bit and start fresh another day.  In fact I think my pattern in the pool to learn and imprint something new is as follows...

-try it with Jacki and sort of get it right, doing my best to focus on listening to what she says and remembering it as closely as possible.
-sort of getting it right with Jacki's help.
-practicing it directly after class and then getting all aggrevated I can't do it properly.
-trying it on my own in a day or so and getting annoyed I'm still not getting it right and trying way too hard.
-trying it again another time and relaxing more, stressing less, and doing much better at it.
-one more time on my own and I finally start to feel like its working.  Usually just in time to get it mostly right before I work with Jacki again.

So today I knew when I gave up that I would get it eventually, and that I need to stop trying so hard.  Swimming comes with relaxation and technique, not brute force and frustration.  So when I reach that point of frustration I'm learning to take it out on the kickboard with a couple of sets of 3x50 meter kicking acceleration drills and then go hit the showers.

Next up this afternoon is the Providence Bicycle informal Time Trials.  Which I suddenly find myself all nervous about.  Mostly as I suspect it will be a small group....   and odds are I'll be the slowest of the bunch.  But I need to simply focus on beating my own time from the other day, attacking the hills hard, descending as fast as I can, hanging out on the big ring as much as possible, and saving a little something for miles 10-14.  My optimistic goal is to finish the course in 45:00.  My first somewhat cautious attempt I did it in 50:00 so heres hoping I can go out a little faster today.  Although I'm not exactly rested up for a spectacular effort.  Considering I haven't had a day off from training in a week and a half or so, spent an hour in the pool today a lot of which doing kick drills, strength training yesterday followed by a late night at Fenway Park, and I'm not exactly rested up and fresh to attack the course.  But I'm just hoping not to dump my bike, not to embarass myseld, and to go out as hard as possible and be happy with my performance.  Heres hoping I do well and don't get passed!

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