Friday, July 14, 2006

July 13, 2006 - Open the floodgates!

Bike: 10km, 22min
Swim: 1h15min, 1750m (650m warmup, 500m fly drills, 600m fly/free set)

First, the ride home. Again, a fast one, and I backed off this time (but I did hit a lot of green lights). And was it hot!!! 37degC with the humidity, full sun, and barely a breeze out. And to be honest, I didn't find it all that bad (am I becoming acclimatized?) especially when I was moving amd making my own breeze. But whe I stopped for a light, I could literally feel my sweat glands explode open. I went from sort-of-sticky to full-blown-soaked in an instant. I must have been quite a sight.

Aside -- for cyclists that ride in the heat, the Louis Garneau Ozzy helmet is worth every penny. The ventilation is amazing!

And then, the swim portion of my day. What I had been somewhat dreading for the entire week, really. As promised, it was butterfly. The warmup was all freestroke - 200m full stroke, 2 x 100m kick, 2 x 100m pull, 4 x 25 fast full stroke. And this time, despite being tired and achey, I held my own better than on Tuesday. Really, I think the difference was mental - I knew I could get through it today, like I had purpose.

The fly drills were, well, successful. Four different kick drills were used and they focused not only on kick but also on body positioning and achieving undulation in the water. The first was standard flutter kick, with head tucked between arms. Then move your head and arms up and down to get the undulation through the water....well, try to at least. The next two were dolphin kick with a flutter board - first on your front, next on your back. The key here is to not force it, and slow down. Too fast, or too rigid, and you go nowhere. Finally, dolphin dives - swim to the bottom, push off to the surface, and do a full pull and dolphin dive. The key here is timing and body position, and you can easily tell when you get it wrong. Trust me, it's really easy to tell.

Next was pull drills. First one-arm fly, which is actually really, really easy, and you can really get the feel for what this stroke can do. I was zooming through the water with ease and speed - it felt amazing regardless of which arm I used. Then it was 3-3-3 -- three one-arm strokes on one side, three one-arm strokes on the other side, then three full fly strokes. As you can guess, 2/3 of that went well. After that, 4 x 25 full fly strokes. Of these four, only the first one went well.

The problem with fly is timing and fatigue. With proper timing, this is a tough stroke on the shoulders, triceps and abdominals - they wear out fast. And without proper timing, you're only speeding up the process. That's where I got stuck. When I could stay strong, things felt rather good - almost smooth. But once something wore out, it all fell apart - fast.

All in all, it was a pretty successful fly set for me. Certainly better than the first two shots at it.

Then (yes, there was more) we did 200m of free pull. Apparently, our shoulders just weren't tired enough that the coach made us do this too.

Then (more?!?) it was 4 x 75m free, with each 25m getting faster, the last one being pretty much all out.

Tired? Let's just say that I'm happy I have a desk job. I'm spent, and my back and shoulders are feeling rather solid and beaten up.

All my life, my upper body's been shaped like a triangle. And thanks to swim workouts like this one, that triangle is starting to point down instead of up!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

July 13, 2006 - Is the sun up, or is that haze?

Bike: 10km, 22min.

Another fast ride. I'm really surprised at this because the air's so thick that I'm sure there more drag on me this morning. It's so humid that there's haze everywhere, and everything is wet (and I know it didn't rain overnight). At 9:00am, it's 24degC already, and 80% humidity. It's going up to 30degC this afternoon, and I know that the humidity won't drop that much through the day. My ride home is not going to be pleasant.

I definitely feel more tired this morning. My shoulders were up more while riding, and it took a while for the achey-ness in the quads and hamstrings to go away. Going to have to take it easy through the day because of two things:
  1. It'll be hotter than hell this afternoon, and
  2. At swimming tonight, we're doing the B-word.
No, not that B-word! "Butterfly." And after flailing in the water like a seal being attacked by a shark (that's whay my butterfly stroke will probably look like), I'll be expected to do some other swimming on pace.

Okay, so I exaggerated a bit (a tiny bit). I'm sure it won't be that bad, but it will be draining. And it will make a good excuse for a trip to DQ for a Blizzard.

July 12, 2006 - Pushing it a bit more

Ride: 10km, 22min

Wow - a bit of rest does the body good! Normally, this ride of mine at the end of the day takes about 25-27 minutes (for some reason, I find it harder on the way back). But today, wind and all, I felt solid again and pushed it a bit harder. Felt good!

And I got lucky - I missed the rain!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 12, 2006 - Pushing it a bit

Bike: 10km, 21min

Since yesterday's swim was a bit easier for me, I thought I'd push myself on the bike to work this morning. Very light wind, cool but lots of humidity again (the reason for not doing the interval run today). Once the legs warmed up, I just pushed the pace a bit more than usual and got to work in 21min - I think that's a new record for me. Love that bike.

But I think I'm pushing something else today - my luck. The weather forecast is predicting rain and thunderstorms starting early this afternoon. Really, really hoping it holds off until about 5pm or so.

July 11, 2006 - Guilt and Swimming

Swim: 1hr, 1500m

All day long, little voices in my head are telling me to get off my butt and train. My duffle bag sits in my office with me, filled with gear for a spin class at 12:00pm that I know I'm not going to attend. I knew that at 6:00am when I woke up, but, thanks to guilt, I took to work anyways "just in case." It did take some effort, but I did shut those voices up and rested today. The last bike-run over the last two days have left me with nothing for quads, so I really can use the break. Honest.

Plus, I knew that tonight's swim could be difficult. My regular coach is away on business, and the gent covering for her does the 3-times-a-week crew (which is full of serious swimmers and triathletes). It was either breaststroke (the easiest one for me), or butterfly. Thankfully, it was breaststroke.

Matt (the stand-in coach) had some great drills tonight that really improved my breaststroke. This included incorporating some undulation in the pull and kick, which really propels you through the water much, much faster. It also wears out your quads, so I was very happy with my decision to skip the spin class earlier in the day.

One drill we did was a breaststroke pull followed by a dolphin kick as you "dive" into the water, then follow that with the standard whipkick. Now for those of you that have never done a dolphin kick with a "dive" (such as in butterfly), it can be pleasant....but when you start doing this or butterfly, it really isn't. The first few times (sessions? years?) you try this, it's like taking a high-pressure washer to your nose and turning it on, then you slap yourself in the face while pushing your goggles into your head like they're going to come out the other side. Then repeat for 25 or 50m. But yesterday it actually clicked (disclaimer - we did not do butterfly, so I'm sure this discussion will come up again on Thursday). It's all about timing, and when you time it right, you feel like a barracuda cutting the water like it's not ever there.

The last two swims I've had have had these little >poof<'s of physical enlightenment where stuff starts to click. This is good.

But I'm also feeling worried about my freestyle endurance. Again in the warmup, it took a lot for me to actually get comfortable and glide on the top of the water. Honestly, I'm really starting to question my ability to get up to 750m in the pool let alone in the open water. After doing a few freestyle drills, which included slowing down and lengthening on the pull, my stroke improves drastically. Next time, I'll try more pull drills in the warmup and see if that helps me out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10 - The heat is on!

Run: ~6.5km (36min)

Hot. Hot. Hot. Without the humidity, it would be a nice 26degC. However, the air's thick today and it's 34degC with the humidity. Thankfully the sun's behind the clouds when I start out. Not wanting to push my luck, I head for the trails to seek shade.

The legs were tired and stiff from the bike yesterday, but they loosened up rather quickly. The loop through the trails is usually 7.5 - 10km, but I shortened it to 6.5km to keep from overloading in the heat. It was probably a good thing, 'cause as soon as I got out of the trails and back on the pavement, the sun came out. That was uncomfortable.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 9, 2006 -- The Weekend Warrior...sort of.

Bike: 31.5km (1h5min)

For some reason, today had to be the day to see what 30km felt like. Fortunately, my neighborhood is close to a major roadway with bikelanes, so it was pretty easy to plan out -- a simple out-and-back along an open, rolling roadway along the south side of town.

I had a stiff west-then-south wind at +20kph, and the weather was warm at 33degC with the humidity. All in all, these are pretty much the conditions I expect for the triathlon in September.

It felt great. I felt really great when I was heading eastbound, and had the wind at my back. But even fighting the wind entirely on the way back, I still felt pretty good. Note that "good" doesn't mean "I feel like I'm on the beach with a cold one" - more like "I'm working, but I can get through this." And I still had a lot in the tank at the end of it all - I finished the last 2km with a sprint that took me up to about 45kph, and I still felt like I could have taken on a run.

It's been a good week for me. Things are tired, but I seem to be benefiting from the training. Swimming is coming along, and my leg strength and endurance are improving nicely. Let's hope that next week continues this trend.

Totals for Week 1
2h30min (3100m)
approx. 1h40min + 45min spin (75km)
55min (10km)

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