Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

The short versions.....

The Good...   I FINALLY got back in the pool today.

The Bad...   I was supposed to get back in the pool two weeks ago and yet I keep finding excuses to not do it.  I'm pretty angry at myself about it.  But at least I broke that cycle today and got my ass in the pool.

The Ugly....   I ate an insane amount of food yesterday.  All this work stress has me in a serious funk and I've been stress eating a lot.  Way too much...   I'm up to 145lbs and thats unacceptable.

The long versions....  (in a different order)

The Bad...    I am scared of the pool.  I'll admit it.  I know that the second I take my wetsuit off and hit the pool that my swimming ability goes down by a large amount.  The wetsuit fixes a lot of my body position and technique issues and when I take it off I can struggle mightily.  This is well documented in my blog....  as is my desire to get my ass in the pool this winter and fix it.  And yet in the last two weeks I've struggled to get into the pool.  I've been afraid to get in and go through that humbling experience when I realize I can't cover more than 200 yards without feeling exhausted.  I go from being able to swim just about two miles in open water to suddenly barely being able to complete that first 50 yard set when I get in the pool.  Its a humbling sensation and I hate it.  I just haven't had enough positive experiences in the pool to embrace my time there.  And I let that get in my head.  So in the last two weeks I kept finding excuses and reasons not to get in the pool.  I'd pack my swim bag and then something would come up and I wouldn't go.  Or rather I'd let something come up so I didn't have to go.  Its pathetic.  I've been like a 4 year old throwing a tantrum.  Its not like me to be that way.  I am almost always dedicated to my training to a fault almost and never let anything get in the way of it.  And yet here I am these past two weeks letting everything get in the way.  And I can't do that.  So yeah...  here I am publicly giving myself a hard time about it.  Its pathetic!  I'm better than this and I need to HTFU and get over it.  I'm not going to get any better or faster in the water by avoiding the pool.  I know how badly I want that age group placing in the sprints and how badly I want to be able to say I can complete an ironman distance swim without a wetsuit without any problem.  So no more crying, whining, or otherwise coming up with b.s. excuses not to go swim.  Its time to suck it up and get my ass in there.

The Ugly...    I've been bad foodwise lately.  And thats also unacceptable.  Despite the fact I've mostly been eating healthy choices my reduced training load and increased calorie intake is catching up to me.  I'm 145lbs today and thats just not acceptable.  I know its only 5lbs and I know 145lbs is still very much a healthy weight for me.  But its not where I want to be.  The tattoos on my wrist are there for a reason.  To remind me that I don't want to ever go back to where I was.  So even 5lbs is not acceptable.  I need to get on top of my calorie intake and stay on it.  No more excuses, and no blaming anybody but myself for it.  Yesterday I binged hard.  All day long nonstop I ate and ate and ate.  I probably easily put down 4-5,000 calories yesterday.  Part of it was stress, and part of it was depression eating.  I was ticked off at myself for not swimming and so I ate in response to that.  Thats just not acceptable behavior.  WTF?  I know better than this.  I also need to get my training plan under control in a hurry here and get back to training six days a week.  No more recovery weeks.  Easy paced efforts are fine, but no more extra days off.  No matter what.  Also unnaceptable.  Its time to HTFU and get back to staying on track.  I didn't work this hard to let it all go this winter and I'm not about to let it all go in the first few weeks of fall.  No more binging, no more excuses, no more slacking off.  If I want to win next year, and beleive me I do, then I need to pay the price its going to cost to do so.  You don't win by gorging yourself on cheese and crackers in front of the TV.

The Good....   ok so with all this bad and ugliness going on I am glad to be able to share some good.  I did finally get my ass in the pool today.  When I woke up this morning I knew I had to swim.  Theres was just no way to avoid it any more.  I needed to go, I had to go, I wanted to go, and the girl had threatened to not hang out with me if I didn't go in a very sweet gesture to help me get my ass in the pool.  My alarm went off at 4:45am so I could get ready for the 5:30 pool opening time.  I decided that was ridiculous and went back to bed.  I figured I'd try a 7:30 arrival and see how busy it was then.  Turned out that was a good choice.  So after dilly dallying, shaving my face, cutting my hair, showering and everything else I could think of that didn't involve heading to the pool I finally put my ass in the car and headed to the Y.

At 7:30 it turns out that the pool is not as busy as it is at 5:30.  Sweet!  I guess people are already headed to work at that point.  There was only 1 person in each lane and one lane was wide open.  So I had a lane all to myself.  Perfect.  The challenge the girl (who has offered to become my swim coach and we are going to give that a try) put down was for me to swim 1200 yards.  So I got in the pool with that goal in mind.  I stood at the end of the lane endlessly unnecesarily adjusting my goggles and started doing the math.  1200 yards is 24 laps.  So far I've done zero laps.  So thats 24 laps to go.  Yuck.  Ok...   shutup and swim.

I started the first 50 and the first leg of it was so bad I considered getting out if I ever made it to the first wall and taking up knitting, or golf, or anything but swimming.  I felt awful.  I was struggling to swim at all, my body position was a wreck, when I would rotate to breathe I'd get water instead of air.  But I forced myself to calm down and figure it out.  I hit the wall and turned (I really must learn proper flip turns soon) and started back.   Really?  Is 50 yards going to be this hard?  1200 yards felt completely unreachable.  I finally flailed my way to the wall.  Ok...  30 seconds of rest.  Wow that sucked.  Wow this SUCKS.  OMG I hate that I can't swim without that stupid wetsuit on.  Shutup and FOCUS!  Shit!  30 seconds goes by too fast.  And off I went on the next lap.  This one was a tiny bit better.  I at least got a bit more air instead of water when I rotated to breathe.  But it still wasn't fun.  The third 50 felt a little better and so on and so on and so on.  By the 8th 50 I was finally starting to settle into a groove.  Hmmm....   maybe all that wetsuit swimming has improved my technique somewhat?  By the tenth I was considering reducing the rest to 20 seconds but thought the better of it.  I was finally starting to relax.  I was focusing on reducing the number of strokes I was taking and gliding more.  So my breathing got more under control and I started to relax more and it all started to get easier and almost feel like wetsuit swimming.

After finishing a set of 12x50's on 30 seconds rest and feeling more relaxed I decided to try a 100.  The 100 went fine.  So I decided I'd do a set of 6x100's on 30 seconds rest.  That set started to go better and better as it went on.  There were several times I'd get out of breath and I had to focus on recovering and relaxing and finging my groove again instead of stopping.  I refused to let myself stop till I'd finished each 100.  I was averaging about 2:10 per 100 which is the same I've always done in the pool.  In a wetsuit in open water I average about 1:57/100.  I suspect if I master flip turns I can shave a few seconds of my pool 100 as well.  Anyway...    I finished that set and then did a couple more 100's for a total of 8x100s.  I'd now more than met my goal, would be able to see the girl again, and was feeling a little bit better about my pool time.  Which is when I decided it was time to try and end the day with an even more positive experience.

Previously my longest pool continuous swim distance was 225 yards.  I know!  pathetic isn't it?  but thats as far as I could go without having to rest when not wearing a wetsuit.  My longest wetsuit swim is something like 1.8 miles!  So pretty sad I can't swim more than 225 yards in the pool.  So I decided it was time to break that record and set a new one.  And that this winter increasing that longest distance was going to be my pet project.  Once a week I'll try and do a longer swim set in the hopes that one day I'll do an incredibly dull 2.4 mile long continuous pool swim.  But that goal is a long way out.

So I started to swim and count laps.  The first 100 went by quickly enough and then the nerves kick in as soon as I make that next turn.  How long will I be able to go?  I'm tired already...  Wow this is hard.  Which is pathetic as its just my brain messing with me.  So I told it to shutup, refocused on just trying to stay relaxed and keep swimming.  200 yards done.  Ok...   were approach the record distance!  225 done and I made the turn.  That next 25 felt really good.  Ok... still in a nice groove lets keep going.  300 yards done...   lets do 100 more!  In the end I did a 400 yard set.  At the end of it I probably could have kept going a little bit more but I was tired and didn't want to push it.  And hec, I almost doubled my longest distance and at the beginning of this swim session I felt like I wouldn't complete the first 25 yards.  So time to walk away happy on a good note.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with the swim today.  Now I just need to stay consistent and keep going to the pool at least three days a week all winter long.  Thats the goal.  Here's hoping I can keep to it!

Next up this week...    more swiming, more running, more biking, going to watch my first cylocross race this weekend that should be fun too!


  1. I dread the pool too...different reasons-the chlorine, boring compared to the lake. Have you tried music in the pool? I'm not sure if it's a habit I should start...

  2. I haven't tried music in the pool. Generally I'm not a fan of mixing music and training. I'm pretty good at losing myself in my own thoughts anwhere except on the treadmill or on a bike trainer. Those are the only two places I use music or tv to keep me entertained. A friend of mine uses the swim mps player things and really enjoys it. She may be onto something. I can't even imagine what its going to be like trying to do two mile long swims in a 25 yard pool. Thats going to be DULL!