Friday, January 21, 2011

Week #3

Week #3 of the (pre) season is slowly grinding down. Monday, week #3 for Masters swim. I still felt pretty bad Monday AM, but went and swam anyways. We did a total of 2400 yds, a bunch of drills, a bunch of warm up laps, drills, drills and more drills. 100x2 FS for time, followed by 3x50 BS. 400 KB, then alternating 100 FS, 3x swim 1x PB, then 3x PB 1xFS. I actually swam pretty good, thought the congestion was making it a bit difficult on the breathing.

Monday at 11am, I saw my physician. She said I was still pretty sick (obviously), so she put me on some strong ass 875mg horse tab type antibiotics for 10 days. She said I did not have bronchitis, nor do I have pneumonia. Yes, I can still workout and keep on swimming. After all, I'm healthy-other than being sick as hell for 3 weeks!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I worked 12 hour shifts each day, plus had drive time on top of that. No, this was unplanned OT, so my days were something like this: up at 5am, out the door at 5:50am. Work, work work, type and type and type some more. Drive back home, walk through the door at 8pm. Kiss my kids goodnight, eat some leftover dinner, get stuff ready for work the next day, go to bed. Repeat. This is life just getting in the way of family life and IM training, its going to happen, I tell myself. In a weird sort of way, I understand it and I'm OK with it. After all, it is life and it will happen, right?

Thursday, finally a day off! I'm feeling something close to better than I have in 3 weeks. So I air up the tires and get kitted up, and ride the TT bike on the trusty trainer for 40 minutes. I did a 15 min warm up, so as to make sure the muscles were good to go-no more pulled or strained muscles now, please. Then, 15 min straight in aero position, with no breaks or getting out of aero. I had lowered my saddle height about 2-3mm prior to the spin, and I think this was a positive. I felt less stress on my shoulders and forearms, and felt like I could ride aero more easily than before. We'll see how the position tweaking works as I ride more in the upcoming days and weeks-more fine tuning might be in order. Finish up with an easy 10 min cool down, then off to grocery shop for my mom, run some errands, then pick up the kids from school.

Today, Friday. It's only about -15 degrees Far when I wake up, but the schools are still open, so off to school go the kids. More errands, to the post office, KMart, fill the vehicles up with gas and top off with gas line treatment. Back home, then its time to update my iPod play list and throw some gear together. The wife and I decided to drive up to Milwaukee to the Pettit National Ice Center, where they have an indoor running track, a total of .28 mile in length (in addition. there is an olympic size oval skate track and two hockey rinks inside the run track). Its cool inside, but comfortable. Tomorrow, they host a 5k, 1/2 marathon and relay and Sunday is the full marathon-all indoors. Race buddie Kim is running the 1/2 tomorrow, good luck Kim!!

So, its time to run. I haven't run in about 3-1/2 weeks now, and many of the December runs were treadmill runs. I change clothes, stretch out good, slowly walk to warm up, then I take off. I feel surprisingly good! I find an easy pace I can maintain without blowing up the heart rate, and manage to go at 2:35-2:40/lap pace for the entire run. The last lap, I kick it up and run faster, making it around in 2:12. I went a total of 21 laps (22 with a cool down walk lap), for 5.88 miles. Not bad, not for so long away from the run. Follow that with a little post run shopping and lunch in Milwaukee-we bought a few kitchen accessories we've been wanting to pick up-I love William Sonoma stores! Tonight, I feel good. My legs are fine-we'll see how they feel tomorrow AM when the alarm goes off at 5am. Yep, back to work.

Five more days to go on the antibiotics. So far, so good. I'm feeling much better. I can run, I've been swimming and I can bike a little. Things are starting to look up for week #4 on the training calendar. Still, keep your fingers crossed and hope this will be the only time I will get sick for 2011. I'm looking forward to week #4 of Masters swim-so much so, I'm contemplating signing up for a 2nd session, running back to back to the 1st. This would give me 16 weeks straight of Masters swim, and would take me right up to (and just past) the 1st running race of the year I want to do on April 9-the Racine/Mt Pleasant 1/2 Marathon.

Oh, and I ordered a new 2 bottle Fuel Belt model, Kiwi green accents. I found a killer price from were 50% off, so I grabbed one up. Next, I will be ordering the CEP compression socks I want, yep, you guessed it, in Lime green-again with a killer price. I want to have some kit that will stand out this year, so I'm going for a black with lime green accented race kit. Now, I need to find a black and lime green accented visor, maybe some black and green accent eyewear too? I'll post some pics when I get the new kit.

Stay tuned-week #4 is bound to be even better. Serious training is just around the corner.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week #1.

Training week #1 is done, a bit of a disappointing start if I do say so myself. I logged a total of 5hr 8m of training, with all but 40 min of it in the pool. Absolutely lousy! Don't get me wrong-I need to improve my swim the most out of the three disciplines. But, a 40 min spin and no runs in week #1? WTF?

Well, this has to be about the worst early season start I've had since making a comeback in 2006. First, I got sick and felt like death for over a week. Next, I pushed a bit too hard, too soon on the 40 min trainer spin this past Friday night (doing a 3X variable gearing drill set, pushing a hard gear for 60 sec at about 70 rpms). I warmed up with an easy pace, easy gear for 15 min, and cooled down for over 7 min. Well, the hard gear this early on was a big mistake. On Saturday AM, my left inner calf muscle was screaming. Great, just what I need now. I took Sunday off, when I was going to do a 4 mile run, because the calf was still super sore. Crap.

So I've been gimping around with the sore calf, so much now that my left hip and lower back are sore as hell too. So much, in fact, that I might be making the call to go back to the chiropractor again-I haven't been to one in almost 3 years now. But, something has got to give, and I think I need an adjustment now from walking stupid for days. I hope thats all it is. Double crap.

A positive from week #1? I did 4 swims in 7 days, at 3 different pools, for a total of 5,350+ yards! I've never got this much swim time in one week, ever. Friday was a vac day, so I went for a swim at JMBA and did 2,100 yds FS, plus WU and CD, with a little kick for good measure.

Saturday AM, my day off and I still had to get up at the crack of dawn. I grabbed a cup of coffee, an english muffin and some Nutella, and hit the road for a 40+ minute drive west to Burlington and the Aurora Wellness Center (where my race buds Bob and Kim are members). It is a top notch facility, a killer big pool, an indoor running track and a super spin room. This was another first-a Tri Swim clinic with top notch Coach Alissa who took a very cool approach for instructing. She video taped us after we warmed up, we watched how we looked and she gave us immediate pointers and recommendations on what we needed to do to improve.

Next, yep, you guessed it, drill time! She demonstrated the following: catch-ups, 6/6 counts, 3 strokes and glides, touch backs, right art/left arm, closed fist, and finger drag/zippers. Then, yep, you're right again, we got to do 2x25s or 2x50s of each drill. After drills were done, we got to re-warm up with more FS, then Coach Alissa videos us again, showing what we had done on her tips and reinforcing how the drills are so important in becoming a solid swimmer. Next, we did a serpentine swim course for time. This was a 3x50 with no stops, and you had to pass if there was a slower swimmer along the way. Very tiring, but a fun drill! Overall, a great class and a super value at only $25 for 2 hours!

Today was Masters swim day #2, and I was up before the alarm sounded, at 4:15am. I took a hot shower, trying to loosen up the back/hip/calf ailments (it didn't help much!). I got to the health club, light snow falling from the steel gray monotone morning sky. One of those days devoid of color (kind of like a scene from The Road, if you've read it and have a good imagination, or have seen the movie).

We split into three groups today, and had one more lane which was great. I went with the "slow" group, because, well, I am slow (albeit, I am not the slowest one in the class, if you can believe it)! I am actually the fastest "slow" swimmer, and I might have to go up to the "middle of the road medium" swimmers in the next few weeks, we'll see how I am doing.

Today, warm ups were harder (for me) than the main set. Warm ups consisted of 200 FS, 100 with 3-FS 1-alternate stroke, then 200 kick (still killer hard for me). Next, stroke technique, with one being head out of the water to concentrate on arm entry and full extension of the arms. The coach is big on pushing us to do strokes other than freestyle; he says it will make us better overall swimmers, and I believe him. My fellow slow lane swimmer and race bud Kim said Coach Allisa went to college with the Masters coach-she told us at the Tri swim clinic that he is a "long distance swimmer", and she is a "pure sprinter". She said he has done IM Wisconsin and did the swim in around 50 minutes-one of the faster times put in at IMoo, even by Pro standards. Apparently, he is a long distance sprinter!

On to main sets, where we did 3x150s, with 30 second rests between the 3 sets. If you finished faster as the sets progressed, you got a longer rest. One of the 2nd sets, I did in 2:29, so I got an extra 30 second breather. We did more kick, this time any other stroke besides FS. So it was back and crawl, as I will never probably be able to butterfly and work up to doing am IM in the pool. I did manage to work on my bilateral breathing, and this seems to be coming a bit easier now for me. A 200 FS cool down, and out at 7am, off to work.

This Masters class was 100 times better for me, personally than last week. Being sick, pushing too hard and feeling a bit unsure of myself in the 1st class made me nervous about going back today. Well, I can put the concerns aside, knowing I felt great and did a fairly good swim. The other plus for week #1? My back didn't hurt a bit while swimming-this is a bit of consolation I guess.

So if I'm still gimpy by Thursday, I will be calling my doc and looking to get in so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Masters swim-day #1.

OK, a quick report on my 1st official day of training for IM Wisconsin. Masters swim class #1 went something like this; alarm sounded at 4:20am, got up and dressed, grabbed my gym bag and out the door at 4:39am. Drove about 30 minutes, checked in at the health club, class began promptly at 5:30am.

It is a large class, 10 swimmers going in 2 lanes. About 6 or the 10 are signed up for IMoo (including my race buddy Kim, who saw and treated me at the med clinic-keep reading). 2 others are doing IM Racine. I was feeling quite stiff when I woke up, but not too bad overall. Not bad, when considering I was at Urgent Care less than 24 hours before (walk in, for minor stuff that doesn't warrant a trip to the ER).
I had 2 doses of meds on board, and knew I wasn't nearly 100 percent, but I felt pretty good and was way motivated on the way to the class.

Well, about 25 minutes in, we were in the middle of drills when I came as close to puking in a pool as I ever have in my life. My head was spinning, I got dizzy and literally could feel the gel I sucked down coming up. So I got out, told the instructor the issues I was having, he was cool with it, he said take as much time as I needed. I took a walk to the locker room, closed my eyes for a minute, splashed some water on my face (I know, I was wet, I was in the pool after all). I went back and sat on the deck for a few more minutes, then jumped back in and was able to finish up, but I felt weak and a bit shaky.

Overall, the class is very cool. We did about 200 FS warm up, then the coach talked about technique. We focused on hand entry into the water, elbow position, hooking up for more power. We did 25 yard drills with one arm, with no arms, with our fists balled up. Then we worked on anything but FS stroke; I did some front crawl. I noticed an immediate difference in my hook and power just by modifying my hand entry slightly-so my pinky is up instead of parallel to the water surface.

We also did a bunch of drills for backstroke, which were really cool. One arm drills, kick only, rotation to one side-kick 6-rotate other side-kick 6. We did some kick work-this was the 1st time I've done that amount of kick drills, hold crap! I felt weak (maybe some of it was being sick), but I'd like to think I've got some strong ass legs.

Well, after these kick drills, I will be focusing WAY more attention to kick drills (at least 200 yards a session) as my legs felt like limp noodles. Also-more backstroke, I was digging this stroke, but have never swam it very much before. I am liking this class-this could be the best move I've made in the overall big picture for IM race prep. The coach said the days would get easier-as we would improve quickly-but they were going to get harder at the same time-he will be working us harder and harder each week. An hour and a half of pain. Bring it on!

I think I did about 700-800 yards or so, total. I missed a good chunk, maybe 300-400 while out on the sabbatical walk around. I got back home in time to take the kiddies to school, then I lay down for about an hour. Next, I was back on the road to take my mom to see her ortho doc and get staples/stitches pulled from her arm from her pre Christmas surgery. We ran some errands for her, I got her back home and made her lunch. Then I jetted back home to lay down again for about an hour and a half, still feeling like crap. Next-time to pick up kids, run them to piano lessons, home for homework and reading time. Finally, time for bed (right after this post, as matter of fact!) My hands are like chunks of ice and I still feel slightly ill to my stomach. The back is still aching real good, quads and hips/SI joints are twinging, so the bug is hanging tough! This is one of the HTFU moments, I keep telling myself.

Next up this week: I had planned on a 50 minute easy trainer spin tomorrow after work, but this will be put on a "Wait and see how I feel" basis. If my back/legs/SIs feel this bad, I will hold off another day or two before running or biking at all. Coming up for the weekend: YEAH, more swim related stuff-Saturday AM! My race buds Bob, Kim, Johnny and I are all signed up for a Tri swim clinic out in Burlington from 8-10am, only cost us $25 and the instructor is an elite swimmer/Tri veteran. This should be a fun one, on a weekend off (we might do a group treadmill run afterwards, if I feel better by then. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...I'm begging to be better, praying to the Tri gods...)

So look for another Tri swim report by the end of the weekend. The swim classes are going to pay dividends-I can feel it! Another training report-maybe sooner if I can shake this mother F'er of illnesses by then.

In closing-one pic, this of the drive home after swimming. I sent it to my wife, and said there was at least one good thing about getting out of bed so early! The jpeg you get from my iPhone doesn't do it justice. But it was beautiful!
Due east towards Lake Michigan sunrise!