Friday, July 2, 2010

Classtime, Swimtime, Tapertime...


First up today is a quickie chat about the Tri 101 class I attended last night put on by my triathlon club.  The class is meant as an intro to newbies getting into the sport to go over all the basics.  It was put together by Cassandra Walsh, Jon Lamoreaux, and Tara Comer.  Jon and Tara are both USAT coaches, (one of which I hope to hire as my coach when I start training for my half ironman and full ironman races).  For me personally the class was a nice review of everything I need to know about transitions and tri's in general.  I picked up a few tips here and there and got a couple of questions answered.  Mostly I just walked out of there feeling really happy that I knew just about everything they talked about already.  By that I mean I felt like I have done my homework, read many tri books, magazines, websites, how to's, watched a million videos on how to do your transitions etc...etc...   I've done my research so what they were going over was not new material to me.  So I walked out of there feeling great.  I hope that doesn't sound cocky...  its not meant to.  It was just sort of like walking into a french language 101 class and then realizing that you already speak the language.  It was nice to meet a few new club members and see Jon, Tara, and Cass again.  I was also able to get answers to a couple of my niggly little silly questions like how do you get the sand off your feet before you get on the bike and other random things.  For me it was well worth attending the class.    Other bits I got out of class was Jon telling me that I shouldn't run the TT on a tuesday and race on the weekend.  Which I guess I already knew, but I enjoy the TT so much that now I'm kind of bummed about it.  Maybe I can go and help time people?  I like the community of people at the TT and I'd hate to not be there when I'm in town.  But then again, I'd rather perform at my peak in the races so its the right thing to do.


This morning I met up with Luis to swim at GVP.  There were a few other potential people that were thinking of coming but in the end it was only the two of us.  The air this morning was pretty brisk and I was pretty cold getting into my wetsuit.  Especially as today was the first time I got to try out my new sleeveless wetsuit.  I've come to depend on the wetsuit for open water swims as a bit of a security blanket.  Its nice knowing that the suit will fix all my body position issues, make me faster, but most of all its nice knowing that its pretty much impossible for me to get into trouble.  If I ever get tired going for a new further distance goal I can relax, flip on my back, and know that the wetsuit will allow me to float effortlessly and recover.  The problem though is that the ponds and lakes in Rhode Island are starting to get pretty warm.  As in bathwater warm.  Which when you wear a wetsuit and the sun is shining down on your black neoprene cocoon it gets hot in there!  And you do NOT want to overheat in there.  Just being warm in the thing is an unpleasant enough situation.  So I ordered a sleeveless wetsuit in hopes that it would alleviate some of that discomfort.  They are also just a tiny bit faster to remove in transition as well.  The suit came in yesterday so today was the first time I was able to try it out.  It was definitely a lot cooler in the water with it on versus the full suit.  So I suspect that its what I will be wearing for most of my tri's this summer.  Of course that will all depend on the water temperature at each race, but its nice knowing I have both as an option.  So...  onto the swim!

This is the first time Luis and I have done the long swim together.  We've done plenty of open water sessions together but one of us has always been doing a different route or plan and at different times we have both progressed faster than the other in ability and distance.  So its been a while since we've both been at the same level.  Recently Luis took a big jump ahead of me in the swim and has been doing the mile long swims before I felt ready to.  But today I'm happy to say we were able to swim the out and back together.  In some of the Total Immersion DVDs I have here at home there is all this hokey stuff with new age music playing about swimming in a rhythm with multiple people.  Now in the video they are all in formation with their strokes perfectly matching.  But today Luis and I kept pretty even pacing with each other for the whole time.  I have to say it was pretty cool seeing Luis's swim cap every time I breathed to my left and knowing we were at the same pace.  Its comforting knowing that someone else is in the water with you, and its even better when you don't feel like your miles behind that person the whole time.  We traded the lead quite a bit which I think had more to do with how strong either of us felt at that particular minute or how well we were sighting at any one time.  Definitely a great swim though, I really enjoyed it and I was able to knock five minutes off the first time I did it.  Most of that five minutes was me resting at the dock the first time, and at the quarter mile point figuring out if I was gonna do it.  This morning I barely rested at the quarter, just enough to check in with Luis and plan our route and then we only stopped at the dock for maybe 60 seconds before heading out again.  So that was awesome.  I found a nice groove in the water today almost right away which was also a nice experience.  With each swim comes more confidence.  I love it!  I can't wait to start expanding that distance out further.  Speed never interests me as much as endurance and distance does.  So I want to go further!  If I can be swimming 2.4 miles by the end of the summer I'd be thrilled.

So lets chat about sighting for a minute.  Today our route goal was to swim to the buoy that marks .2 miles into the swim and then follow the shoreline to the dock and then swim a straight line back to the beach across the pond.  I love when you can follow the shoreline as you effectively don't have to sight.  One of the plusses of being able to breathe bilaterally is I just look to my left every time I breathe that way and make sure I'm close to the shoreline.  Easy peasy, and it means I don't break my stroke rhythm to sight at all.  When we turned back to head towards the beach it got tricker.  The sun was in my eyes and the entire beach was in the shade which meant from far away it didn't look any different than the trees that line the entire coastline in that area.  So it was damn hard to stay on track for the beach.  I just couldn't find a distinctive landmark to keep me on track.  If I slowed way down and pulled my head WAY out of the water I could find the beach but I was trying to avoid that.  But in retrospect looking at the data I did better than I thought.  Clearly Luis and I were having the same problem as we both kept appearing on different sides of each other so we were weaving back and forth as we swam back in.  Now for the dorky bit...   if you take your Garmin 310xt and stick it up under your swim cap it works in open water under the "Other" mode.  And it lets you do cool things like this:

Or you can see it in "satellite" mode that looks like this:

So now we can look at my route and see how my sighting went.  On the way out I followed the coastline nicely as you can see.  The buoy we headed for is right after the second island where you see the indent in my route.  Then we followed the coastline to the dock and then turned around to head back to the beach.  Now here is where you can see I was struggling to sight a little.  There are some definite points of severe course correction.  I'd bet those are the moments I lifted my head way high out of the water to figure out where the hell the beach was.  But generally its not the worst straight line, but theres room for improvement.  But then again in a race there isn't going to be a half mile long stretch without a big bright buoy to sight from so I'm not too worried about it.

Some other data from the swim is the pacing.  I did the 1.11 miles in 36:52 which is a 1:53/100 yards which works out to 57 second 50's.  Not too shabby.  I'll be happier when thats at 50 second 50's.  Thats my next goal as I also shoot to extend the distance.


So I'm now getting pretty close to my first tri and I need to start thinking about the taper while I also keep my longterm goals in line.  The short version of my longterm goals is to continue to build endurance in the swim and the bike.  The run I already have endurance in, I just need to maintain it.  So as much as in a perfect world if the sprints were my A races I should not do my long run this weekend and skip my long ride thats not what I want to do at all.  I think this first spring and the Deary are going to be what you would call my "B" races this season.  I just want to go out and do well, but not worry too much about it.  I'll taper after Sunday and be good all week, but thats it.  The Barrington race in mid august I'll do more of a two week taper for and really make it an "A" race and use all the things I'll learn in the first two races to really give it my all.  So thats the plan.  It goes against what other more experienced tri folk have told me and that may come back and bite me in the ass, or it may not.  My strongest brick to date was my Oly brick out on SJI which I did on the tuesday after an intense week of training that was capped with a 13 mile run and 70 mile ride.  And if I can recover with one off day and go into that brick on tuesday I think I'll be well prepared to race on Sunday after many more days rest.  So thats the plan.

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