Friday, December 17, 2010

Swimming, Running, and Hurting...

Lets start with the bad news first shall we?

So I took 9 days off from running in order to let the various problems going on with my right leg heal up a bit (plantar fasciatis, which led to calf tightness, and my trusty tight hamstring which sometimes aggrevates my right glute).  The 9 days off were somewhat complicated by my slight bike crash which led to some other nagging annoying injuries such as forearm tenderness from all the road rash, but my right knee was tender for several days, and my left hip and shoulder weren't thrilled either.  So I got a little beat up.  But the important thin is I took some time off of running in order to get better.

So for my first run back I met up with Nancy to run an easy paced five miler which I wrote about here.  Nancy and I also ran together on Wednesday when we did a brutally cold five miler again.  Again we kept to a nice relaxed pace.  That was a chilly one...  14 degree temperature with a "feels like" temp of 4 degrees.  It was COLD!  But we got through it.  After that run I felt pretty good which was encouraging...

So then on Thursday I figured I'd run another five miler.  This one by myself.  I wanted to see how my legs felt and what sort of natural pace they would fall into.  So I set out on the run and let my legs do what they wanted to.  Nancy and I ran those last two five milers at ten minute miles.  Super easy and relaxed as Nancy had only just started running again after a bit of a break and I was coming back from injury.  So I figured I'd see how my legs really felt and just let them go.  At the two mile mark I was running a 7:30/mile average which I held all the way up until three miles.  I felt great, my legs felt good and I was really happy as my foot wasn't bothering me at all and life was good.  I relaxed a bit on the last two miles in and ended up running a 7:45 avg for the five miler.  Which is what that should be for me.  So that was great.  What wasn't great however was how sore and stiff my right hamstring was at the end of that run.  I'd pissed it off by running fast and it let me know it.  In retrospect I should have throttled way back again.  But I wanted to see how I felt.  So the good news is my foot/calf/shin wasn't bad, but my hammy/glute was NOT happy.  Its now friday and its still a bit ticked off, but not as bad as it was late yesterday.  Last night I literally couldn't job across the street to avoid being hit by a car it was so tight.  I had to limp across the road.  It just was NOT happy.  Today I'm happy to say its doing a lot better.

So whats next?  Theoretically I have one last twenty mile run tomorrow morning and then its taper time for the marathon.  So heres my plan....   since my leg is feeling much better today I'm going to try the twenty miler tomorrow.  I reserve the right to stop at any point if its bad, cut the run in half and make it a 10 miler, or do the full twenty.  Its going to come down to feel.  My leg has a habit of loosening up during a run and feeling fine, or it might not.  Only time will tell.  And then my plan going forward from that will depend on how my leg reacts to the twenty miler.  If I get the 20miler in without major issue then I will continue my run training and taper as usual and do the disney.  If tomorrow goes poorly I will consider not running until the week of the marathon and tapering with lots of swimming/biking.  If it goes REALLY badly I'll do nothing but swim for two weeks and then start running a tiny bit leading up the Disney and see what happens.  And if its REALLY REALLY bad I'll say screw it and take a three day vacation in Orlando and be really pissed off that I spent all that money on those races and can't do them.  But I don't think that will happen.

What else does it mean?  It means racing the Donna marathon in February is now off the table.  As soon as this Disney race is over I'm going to not run for at least six weeks.  Nothing but swim and bike.  My legs need time off from running and if they still don't feel great I'll do nothing but swim as much as I can for six weeks.

So thats the run side of things....

On the bike side of things....    theres nothing to report.  I haven't been on the bike since a brief trainer ride on Monday.  But I AM excited to be taking southward with me and hope to get some nice rides in down there in warm weather.

On the swim side of things there is some good news to report I'm happy to say.  So the Girl is now my official swim coach.  And I have to do what she says.  And here's what she said my first workout had to be...

200yd Warmup
500yd Easy Free
300 kick
200 cooldown

Hmmm....   I was pretty anxious about starting with a 200 and I was positve I'd NEVER survive the 500.  Every since I porked up my form lately I haven't been able to do anything longer than a 100 and those felt AWFUL.  So I was positive I'd never be able to start with a 200 and I'd never survive the 500.  But I made a commitment to do whatever she says (In the Pool!) and I planned on sticking to it.  So I was going to try my damndest or drown trying.

I got in the pool and messed with my goggles for an eternity to prolong the start of the 200.  How the hec was I going to do that when I've never done anyting beyond starting with a ton of 50's to warmup?  Oh well...   here goes.  I focused REALLY hard on trying to relax and go super slow and easy.  I tried to remember my mantra "swim like an old fat lady".  As I approached the wall for the end of lap 1 I tried desperately to relax.  My mind wanted me to stop, but I plowed onwards and made the turn and headed towards 75 yards.  Ok...   uncharted territory here.  So far so good.  I just kept trying to relax.  Then I passed 100yds and started to feel a tiny bit better.  Maybe I was actually going to be able to do this?  Then 150yds...  one more lap to go.  And then before I knew it I'd opened up with a 200.  Which to some may seem ridiculously easy.  To me seemed impossible.  I know... its ridiculous...   My longest continuos swim is 1.8 miles, I've done numerous 1.2 mile open water swims in all kinds of conditons and I was more scared standing at the end of the lane in the pool about to open with a 200 yd warmup that I am starting at six foot waves on the beach before and open water swim.  WEIRD...   but true.

Ok... did the 200!  That helped boost my confidence...  except now I have to do a 500.  Damn!  So time to muck about with my goggles some more.  Its amazing how much time you can kill doing that.  Two minutes later I started out for the 500.  10 laps.  They went kind of like this.

Lap 1:  I think I can't, I think I can't, I think I can't, I think I can't.
Lap 2:  shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!
Lap 3:  ok...  we just did a 200.  This is less than that.  So shut up.
Lap 4:  ok...   we just did a 200.  This is the same as that.  Crap.  I'm not even halfway yet.
Lap 5:  if I can just get throug this lap I'll be halfway done.  Damn... this is lap five right?  or is it 4?
Lap 6:  Ok, back in uncharted territory.  But at least were beyond halfway.
Lap 7:  If this is what a 500yd set feels like those long workouts with 1000yd sets in them are going to be insanely dull.
Lap 8:  does this bathing suit make me look fat?
Lap 9:  Holy crap only two laps to go!  I hope I don't choke.  Shut up!  Shut Up!
Lap 10:  Don't screw up!  OMG I"M DONE!  I DID IT!!!!!!

Head out of the water and big smile on my face.  I needed that.  That was a confidence booster.  I lost a lot of confidence in the pool lately... and this set really got it back for me.  Maybe the Girl knows whats she's doing?

Ok...  now just an easy 300 yards of kicking.  How hard can that be?  It went like this....

Lap 1:  Ok... first time ever doing kick drills.  this has got to be easier than that 500.  OMG...   seriously?  What the hell is that muscle thats hurting already?  I've never even remotely felt that muscle before.  WOW.  These SUCK!
Lap 2-6  Wow... this is WAY harder than it looks.  I'd like to take pleasure in my head at least being out of the water but OW!  This sucks!

At the end of the set as I felt a serious pain in some muscles I've never felt before it occured to me that the reason I've never felt those muscles before is that they haven't been engaging which is my kick sucks which is why my body position sucks which is why I struggle. Maybe the Girl really does know what she's doing.

The truth is the Girl really does know what she's doing and she's going to be a great coach.  With her writing all my workouts and doing technique sessions with me I have high hopes and finally think I'm on the right path.

So...   with one workout completed I had a nice chat with the Girl, got some "I told you so" looks when I said she was right about a lot of things and she wrote me a workout for today which went like this...

200 Warmup
6 x 50 on 1:20
200 Easy
6x50 on 1:15
200yd Kick
200 Cooldown

So some of you who can actually swim properly are laughing at the 50yd intervals with all that rest time in there.  Some of you can probably do a 100 and get five seconds of rest in that amount of time.  What can I say...   I'm slow! 

So the first 200 didn't feel great.  I started the workout feeling confident but at the 100yd mark I desperately wanted to stop but I forced myself to get through the opening 200.  I desperately need to figure out why I feel so out of breath for an easy paced 200.  I'm doing something wrong...  just don't know what yet.

Then the 50yd intervals.  I thought those would be fun and familiar.  The first set was.  I wasn't really sure how to swim those.  As fast as I could and get lots of rest?  go easy on them and get less rest?  So I went somewhat hard on them and enjoyed the rest.  My best 50 takes me 50 seconds and I average 55.  So I got about 25 seconds of rest between sets which felt good but by the sixth interval I was a little tired but having fun.  Then a minute of rest and the 200 easy.  That 200 didnt' feel great either.  I again felt like I was struggling to get to the end of the 200 despite desperately trying to relax.  Oh well, the important thing was I did it and didn't give up or stop.

Then the second round of intervals with five seconds less rest this time.  Those were a bit harder.  Seems like you would finish the set and then the next one came around much faster.  Especially as these were about 55 seconds each per 50 so only 20 seconds rest this time.  Which is a lot for most, but for me its ten seconds less than I'm used to.  So that set was challenging and I was happy to get to the last one.  But I did it!  So that was good.  Ok...  time to kick again.

This time I did the kick sets as continuos 50's instead of 25s.  My average time was 1:20 per 50 of kicking.  So now I have a benchmark to look at down the road and see how I'm progressing with those.  I was definitely sore after that set as I tried really hard.  I need to talk to the Girl about kicking form though.  I tried some different things and noted how my speed increased/decreased but it would be good to get some technique notes.

Then it was cooldown time...   that 200 felt a little better but still a bit forced.  I couldn't get to the point of relaxtion I reached in that 500yd set the other day so I need to work on that. 

So that workout was 1400yds total so its nice to slowly be building back up to the 2500yd mark I'd reached in my best workout on my own.  More than that though its just nice to know I have a plan and that I'll make some progress.  I'm really thrilled the Girl is taking this on and she's written me a bunch of workouts to do on my monthlong road trip as well so I'm psyched to have those.  Plus I feel accountable to do them when they are written by my coach and my girlfriend.  I don't want to be the loser that doesn't do the whole workout.  So thats good too.  Sunday we're headed to the pool together for a technique session that I'm looking forward to!  Speaking of which...   I meant to try and practice more flip turns today but forgot.  I think I was just excited the workout was over and I could get out of the water so I forgot.  Ooops!  Anyway...  I won't keep writing about these pool workouts in such a detailed fashion but these first two are me back on the road to getting better again and I wanted to write about them. 

So here's hoping I continue to improve in the pool and don't do anything dumb to my legs out running!

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