So the main highlight of this entry is that I've decided on my first triathlon. As much as I'd really hoped it would be an Olympic length race I've decided its best to start with a sprint. The sad part to this is its fairly unlikely I can find another Oly that fits my schedule. So unless something changes I may just have to enjoy all the sprints I can find that fit my wacky work schedule which so far is three. All within two weeks of each other. So I'll be on an every other weekend race schedule from July 11th till its over. Which will be great as that's just enough time to briefly recover, and then work on my weaknesses from each race and do my best to get stronger with each one. The swim lengths however are a bit random with the order from first to last being 1/3 mile, 1/8 mile, 1/2 mile. Runs and bikes are mostly 12-14 miles and 5K-4 miles.
So my first tri will be on July 11th and its the Mill City Sprint Triathlon in Lowell, MA. Its a bit of a drive but I'm just not willing to wait till the 31st to get my first one in the bag. So I'm gonna go for it! Its a 1/3 mile River swim with the first half being into the current which should be interesting, but I've been rocking 1/2 mile repeats so I will be fine at that distance. I just need to push really hard into the current, and relax a bit on the way back. This is followed by a 13 mile bike which will be cake (although I need to focus on short fast and hard efforts instead of longer rides in the next two weeks) and a 4 mile run which will hopefully be good and fast if all goes well.
Why am I doing the sprint?
Because my swim this morning was extremely frustrating. I met up with some of the guys this morning for an open water session at GVP (Georgiaville Pond). The plan was to knock my first mile long continuous swim out. I got in the water and didn't feel all that comfy. When I first started I was expending way too much effort, and it took me a while to slow down. I would pop up to sight and then tread water for a second as the faster swimmers started to distance themselves from me. I made it out about .35 miles or so and then sort of reconsidered. I wouldn't call it panic, but I wasn't in a good groove, and it just didn't make sense to press forward and go for the mile swim. I was out of my comfort zone and beyond the out and back buoy that's my usual swim there and my brain took over.... and I tried to fight it but the thought of turning around was overwhelming me. Again... not panic... just stubbornness in my own head that felt like it was out of control. Its hard to explain, and incredibly frustrating. So I swam back to shore and that loop was about .60 of a mile. So frustrating.
I was also a little intimidated this morning. There were a LOT of swimmers out there today. There was a 5:30 group that was already in the water when we got there of about 20+ swimmers. More people showed up while I was out so in the end there was what seemed like close to 20-30 people in the water. The parking lot up top was full! At 6AM even! So as I was returning from my first out and back theres 15 or so people recovering from their much longer swim in the water at the beach. And I'm the only swimmer still working his way back in. And when I popped up to sight they are all watching me. At least thats what it felt like. So I did my best to focus on form and not look bad!
I hit the shore and rested for a bit... I kept to myself and avoided the group of other swimmers which was a bit rude of me but I was pissed off at myself and wasn't in the mood to be social. I rested for a minute or two, said hello to Shawn who was doing shorter repeats closer to shore and then headed out to the buoy and back for a no stopping there and back hard effort. Well at least hard for me anyway. That loop is .4 miles exactly (I measured it with my garmin in my swim cap today). I managed to average 1:48 per 100 yards which I'm fairly pleased with. Much faster than my usual 2:10/100 average in the pool. So thats about 54 per 50. I'll take it. I felt much stronger on that repeat. Maybe I need a long warmup in the water before heading out? I dunno. Food for thought. Or maybe I just need to just shut up, spend more time swimming, and stop worrying what anyone thinks about my form.
I think its important here to also note and recognize how far my swimming has come in the last few months. My first day in the pool and the first time I even attempted to swim any distance at all was April 21st! Thats only two months ago. So I should give myself some credit for making it from not being able to swim a single 25 yard length in the pool to now being able to continuously swim a half mile. My swimming has come a long long way and sometimes I spent too much time being frustrated that it hasn't come further faster when really I should be pretty psyched at my progress. I still suck in the pool without a wetsuit on allowing me to not kick so much (at all really) but I'm getting there. I'll focus on joining a masters group in the offseason and be swimming 2+ miles a session sans wetsuit before I know it I'm sure.
So... I got back from the swim, and ran out to one more store to finish my massive restock of all things food and fuel related. In the last two days I've been to Target, Shaws, and Trader Joes to restock my empty fridge and cupboards (a side effect of all my recent work travel). I've spent a small fortune (why the hell is eating so damn healthy so expensive?) but I now have lots of good yummy food to last me quite a long time. I will say out loud that it just plain sucks that I have to spend extra to buy vegetables, fruit, and meats that are not processed, not covered in pesticides, not full of hormones, not stuck in a tiny cage, and not fed crap that they shouldn't be eating. But I feel better putting that stuff in my body than anything else. So yay me, boo grocery stores! Organic, free range, grass fed etc...etc... should be the norm. Not the luxury item!! And if your a longtime friend of mine reading this... I know I know... I used to eat the non healthy crap in ridiculous quantities... but I've seen the light and am sticking to my Paleo-esque "Perimeter" diet. With a few exceptions.