Saturday, September 1, 2007

Swimming Like an Ironman

In the spirit of the first week of school, I’ve gotten behind on my blogging, but I’ve been totally up on my training. Saturday morning’s 4-mile run was easy around the neighborhood at 9:30/mile. Thanks to some early-morning yoga, my legs were only tight at the outset of the run. My left calf is feeling better (knock on wood), but I still have an eight-miler on Sunday.

My Friday-morning swim was anything but laid back and easy, and it totally kicked butt. I set out, as usual, with a wimpy workout in mind (it’s hard sometimes to feel energetic and optimistic in the darkness of 6 a.m.). I was ready to cut out early for calf rest or hot tub time or extra hair drying. Anything really.

But after the first 900 yards of warm-up, I felt fresh. Who knew? So, I thought I would push it to 1,500 yards, then 1,800 (~1 mile)… maybe 2,000. The biggest obstacle I’ve faced when extending my continuous distances in the water has been—you guessed it—boredom. Sure there’s some fatigue, but swimming is one of my only Energizer Rabbit activities! I kept swimming until I reached the Iron distance: 2.4 miles (~ 4,250 yards).

While it was a continuous freestyle swim, I broke down the 4,250 yards for the sake of keeping count:
  • 1,000 yards warm-up
  • 2,000 yards stroke mechanics, rotating:
    - 4 x 100 yards pull
    - 4 x 100 yards stroke with kick emphasis
    - 4 x 100 yards breathe every 5 strokes
    - 4 x 100 yards “perfect” stroke at higher intensity/sprint pace
    - 4 x 100 yards stroke count (avg. 23-25 strokes/lap)
  • 1,000 yards more stroke mechanic, rotating:
    - 250 yards pull
    - 250 yards stroke with kick emphasis
    - 250 yards stroke count (avg. 22-24 strokes/lap)
    - 250 yards “perfect” stroke at sprint pace
  • 250 yards cool down

And, yes, I did feel like going for a 112-mile bike ride when I was done! Unfortunately, I had to go to work (hee hee). Because I finished the swim in 1:15:00, I still had the extra time I would have had if I had wimped out. How cool is that?

I swam the 2.4 miles at a pretty level and consistent intensity—a concept I understand so well in the water, but not very well on land. Running the aerobic intervals and gentle pick-ups prescribed by my half marathon training plan, however, are guiding me well. I think I’m wrapping my mind around the concept… my body’s just not keeping up. Yet.

On Thursday, I hit the trail immediately after work to avoid the running-in-the-dark problem I described earlier. I’m still bored by the bike-hike trail route, but the extra hills added spice to the generally graded path near my house. The 7-miles included 4-mile warm-up at 9:30/mile, 4 x 1:30 aerobic intervals, 6 gentle pick-ups and 1.5-mile cool down.

And what a difference a week makes: last Thursday, I huffed and puffed through a high-humidity 90+ degree afternoon; this week it took about a half mile for me not to feel chilled! Oh, autumn, how I’ve missed you!

I know that the hot weather will come and go over the next several months (this is NEOhio: it’s going to alternate between blizzards and heat waves many times between now and December), but fall just feels cozy regardless of weather realities. The most cozy: football season! As I type, the state up north is getting beaten up by Appalachian State. Hee hee. Who knows what will happen in the second half, but Appalachian is hot, hot, hot…

Happy Anniversary to me: Eight months of training down... and a lifetime to go!


kelsalynn said...

I love Namaste Yoga. Do you do the episode for long distance runners??? We tivo'd it a long time ago and I've done it multiple times's great for stretching the hammies/quads/everything!

B Bop said...

Before begining studies @ Cleveland State I was looking into the Environmental Studies program @ ASU....if I'd have known how hot it was (and seen that video) my life would have taken a different turn :-)

Impressive yardage in the pool!!

JenC said...

Your swimming continues to amaze me. If I swam for 1:15 straight, I might get in 3000 yards. Incredible!

Joe said...

> I kept swimming until I reached the
> Iron distance

Oh my! Do you write up your workouts on a piece of paper the night before? I do and I put the paper in a sandwich baggy to keep it dry at poolside. Good workouts!

miss petite america said...

you, my dear, are a MACHINE!!!!!!