Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catching Up from the Nation's Capitol

I'm currently in Washington D.C. on day 1 of a 17 day long trip that starts the begining of a ridiculously busy period of business trips for me.  I'll be in DC, LA, Chicago, and Dallas in the next 5 weeks.  Its not going to be fun and I'm not going to be home a whole lot between now and then.  I can't say that this especially thrills me.  Its good for the wallet but I'm going to miss the girl and its going to be an exhausting string of gigs.  But I need to just suck it up and get through it and know I'll have some time off once its all said and done.

So whats happened training wise since I last updated...    mostly some good things in the pool.  On Friday of last week I had kind of a breakthrough day in the pool.   I put in 2500 yards in the pool and ended that session by swimming my longest set yet which was a 500yard set.  So I'm slowly increasing my longest set with my hope to get it up to being able to swim at least a mile straight in the pool in short order.  Other than that though I used some tips that the girl gave me and saw some immediate improvment.  My 100 time went from 2:10 at around the middle of the tri season down to 1:58 or so on average.  Which was great.  Thats also at steady easy effort, not at all racing or trying super hard.  Which quite frankly would exhaust me quickly.  In fact right now I kind of only have 1 pace in the pool.  Still its nice that I finally got my 100's under the two minute mark.  So friday was a good day, I left the pool feeling exhausted, but very pleased.

The weekend included a 13 mile run on the bike path on a GORGEOUS fall day that felt ok, but not great.  Theres definitely something up with my right hamstring.  I suspect its just an overuse injury and I need to back off.  I've been chatting with a physical therapist / trainer friend of mine to get her input on the subject as well so we'll see what happens with that.  Theres just some numbness/deadness in that leg thats making the runs no fun.  Its not painfull or anything but clearly something is not right.  So I suspect I'm going to have to lay off it for a bit and let it recover fully.  I think I just raced too much after the FIRM and never let myself recover so I'm paying the price for it.

Sunday morning I went for a very cold ride with Nancy in the early morning.  I think it was just over 40 degrees at the start of the ride.  I was bundled up (at least I thought I was) but my gloves were not thick enough or well insulated enough and I spent most of the ride feeling pretty miserable.  In fact I don't think either of us were having a strong day as our pace was pretty slow.  Still though at this point in the season its just about logging saddle time.  So pace is not a big concern for me.  I'm just glad we got the ride in.  I was so cold though.  I definitely need to buy some proper winter riding gear.  Theres a part of me though that wonders if I'm going to be able to hack riding in the cold.  I can happily run in it, but riding in it at speed is a whole different experience.  It seems to amplify the chill and I'm worried I wont be able to deal with it.  Still I like the idea of trying to ride outside as much as possible this winter so we'll see what happens.  I am going to have to go out and buy a trainer soon though.

Monday I spent with the girl and we went to the pool in Newport for our first real swim lesson together.  I have to say I was pretty nervous to swim in front of her.  What was worse is that it took me  a very long time to relax in the pool and get into a rhythm.  But once I felt mostly comfy in the water she watched me swim from a few different angles and then started to offer some tips.  We also spent some time talking about how best to coach me, and what I find are the most effective ways to work with me.  Which is that basically I need to work with someone who doesn't offer too much advice at once.  I just want a couple little things to work on at a time.  If I get ten different instructions I get confused and lost.  I need two at a time max and then I need to work on those.  So once we established that we decided those two things were going to be head position, and leg position/lower back tension.  The girl suspect I'm looking straight down too much and that my head is too low in the water and that I should look forwards more.  So I've been working on that.   I like that way thats been feeling as its easier to breathe in that head position.  The other thing I need to work on is keeping tension in my lower back, glutes, and kicking with my legs straight instead of bending at the knees.  Which is really several things, but they also sort of all working in conjunction with each other.  This one is tough for me....   so thats going to take some time.  I feel like I've mostly mastered the head position thing now, so its onto working on the lower extremities.  The reason to work on them is that my legs are still sinking somewhat.  The good news however is that they are not sinking anywhere near as much as they used to be so thats great.  So I'm improving.  But once I get my body position bettter we can start working on my pull and I expect that my speed will start to slowly go up at that point.  At least I hope so.  So good things are starting to happen there too which is great.

Today (tuesday) I was very sad to have to say goodbye to the girl for almost three weeks and headed off to the airport to fly to DC which is where I'm writing this from.  Technically today is a bike/run day but I've decided to make this week a pool focus week and lay off my hamstring while I figure out whats up with it.  So I went to the hotel pool to get a swim in today.  On the plus side the pool here is 25 yards long which is nice... but there are no lane markings or lines on the bottom and its very shallow and the walls are kind of high up.  So its too shallow to practice flip turns (its only 3'6" deep!) and the walls are hard to reach to grab to flip yourself over to do a wall turn with so its kind of awkward, but certainly good enough to swim in.  I was tired from such a long swim set yesterday.  I swam 2600 yards yesterday including a 600 yard set at the end so today I just did 1000 yards and then got in the hot tub.  Better than nothing and not so much it exhausted me.  Tomorrow AM I'll do another long set.

So thats a bit of catchup...     time for me to go unpack a bit and get ready for a very long and difficult setup day tomorrow.  Which hopefully goes well...   we'll see....


  1. Nick, sounds like pool work is getting better. And a 3'6" pool is fine to practice flip turns, it will actually teach you to stay as compact while flipping as possible. When you practice it is ok to use your hand to figure out where the bottom is (o you don't smack your head on it)but make sure to keep the rest of you tucked. Really though, the shallow water will help to make sure when you flip and push off the wall you don't push to deep and have to waste distance and stroke work just to get to the surface.

    Good luck,

  2. Thanks Chris... the pool work is definitely getting much better. Its nice to be able to start relaxing enough to get some long long sets in. And now that I'm getting closer to a 3000 yard practice I'm feeling better about it all. Still nervous about practicing flip turns in a pool this shallow though. I like my head not split open!