Thursday, May 19, 2011

Knoxville Rev3

On Sunday May 15 many IronTeam members participated in the Rev3 Knoxville Olympic distance triathlon. We were not alone - the Georgia chapter for TNT spring team was there, as well as many other TNT teams.

Let me start by saying that Rev3 put on a quality event. It was well run, easy to navigate, and many volunteers to really make it a success. Although Rev3 had no say in it, the weather was also perfect - overcast and cool.

Many IronTeam members drove up on Saturday - carpooling. My car was full - Pam Wiener and Cameron Thomas joined Carlos and me in our car. Gear for three triathletes, including three bikes, overnight luggage for four and four adults all fit easily in to my buggy. Well, the bikes were on a rack on the back! We left at 6:30 a.m. and the mood was laidback and easy going. No one slept much. Pam shared her "Knox Knox" joke (as in "knox knox; who's there? A triathlon!") and it went downhill from there :)

We arrived in Knoxville about 10:15. We were after the official swim, but were still able to get in the water. It was COLD! We swam some and got out. Went back to the car, threw our wetsuits on the car, started to hop on our bikes when a fellow participant (a pro) returned from her ride dinged up - she had hit railroad tracks wrong and crashed. Plus she and her mom had accidently locked the keys in their car. It was not their day. We patched her up with the first aid kit in my car. We weren't sure if she would race the next day. She did (and came in third overall! Imagine if she hadn't of crashed). She and her mom were both very nice and approachable. They even recognized Carlos the next day.

So, we went on our recon ride - taking in a little of the run for the next day. It started to rain. Our shoes got drenched. Newspaper dried them out. Then off to register where we saw some of our teammates.

Dinner was with most of the team at Rev3, and very relaxed. I slept well...until 3:20. Then I woke up, heart racing and knew I was awake. Carlos put his arm around me which calmed me down, but I never really slept again that morning.

We met in the lobby at 5 a.m. Amy Dyer and I walked down together, leaving a little before other teammates. She looked calm, but had butterflies just like me, and wanted to get down to transition to set up.

At transition there were many familiar and friendly faces. We started getting things ready for the day. So much equipment with a tri. Rev3 uses temporary tattoos so you don't have to use sharpie markers for your age and number. I messed up on my age, and luckily Mike Gaw had a sharpie in him bag. Otherwise my age was 3 on my calf!

Amy and I headed to the swim start about 7, making our way slowly - talking, stopping for a last porta potty, and then walking to see teammates where we put our wetsuits on. Time flew as we chatted and joked. We started to line up. Mary asked if I wanted her to stay with me at the start of the swim. She knew I was concerned about it - last year in Augusta I freaked in the water, couldn't breathe, and did the first 700 meters on my back. It had been a rough swim. I was concerned it would happen again. Back to Mary - I thanked her but Joanna and I were going to start together. She could know I was close by at the start, and I could focus on her and not me. That's the amazing thing about this team - no need to ask. People just do help. All the women started in a single wave. It was huge (150 - 200 women).


We jump in and the water is warm! Not close to the water we jumped in to yesterday. Hooray! Joanna and I find each other, and stay near the back. The horn blows and we are off. I had a rough start, but stayed mostly on my stomach. I flipped on my back a couple of times for a total of less than 20 yards the entire swim. Within the first couple hundred yards I had it. I looked back, and saw Joanna. I saw her face. I don't know what I saw exactly - I am wondering what she was thinking, but I turn forward. Next time I look back I don't see her. I am on my own...and I feel good. As the swim continues I take is slow and steady, and keep my form. I run in to people, swim around people, and sight, and I feel fine! I could have gone forever. I kept Rachel Mudd and our swim in Lake Lanier where I took it slow and felt good in mind the entire swim I was alone. It worked.

Are you getting the image that I was not alone on the swim? I wasn't. I had my team with me, and it was a terrific feeling.

I exit the water and see Mary Liebman cheering loudly, smile and keep heading on.

T1: 4:21

Looking at my time, I need to shorten my transition when I compared it to others. But, there is a lot to do including removing my wetsuit.

I got to see Sally and Lindsay as I ran to transition. To say I loved seeing them there is an understatement. I was surprised at the number of spectators I knew along the way, and just loved getting to see them.

Bike: 1:19:13

The bike was hilly, but I decided to push it. I figured this was the time to learn what I can do. It was a fantastic ride. There were cars on the road with us. At times it was annoying as they were unable to pass riders, and I was caught behind the car. At one point I was upset at a rider riding 2 abreast, keeping a car behind him. But, things cleared up after a short slow down, and I rode on. I nailed the hills - thinking of Chris Hartley's advice - going up hill I popped out of aero and was passing people on the hills (up and down). It is an out-and-back course so I got to see teammates along the way, and cheered them on.

I also saw Carlos about 1 mile out, and in the same place coming in. On the way out I called to him - and he cheered me on. He saw me first on the way back and kept telling me to push I did!

T2: 2:57

This one was shorter, but still long compared to others I looked at. Maybe I need to practice transitions at home? Maybe that is a little bit too much :)

Lindsay caught me in T2 with the camera getting one last drink from my bike. I also got to see Nancy as I ran out of transition. Like I said - I had a team with me the entire way. It's a great way to do a race.

Run: 53:30

I got out to run and was pleasantly surprised that I felt good, and ran with it. It is an out and back run so I got to see teammates ahead of me on the way out and behind me on the way in. It was terrific. I smiled the entire way. I felt great and comfortable with my run.

As I came back and passed Lee he was sweet and said "You're back already?!"

Beth said that I was smiling WAY to much for that part of the race. I passed Cristen and Mellisa heading walking along the course and they said they would see me at the finish!

I came in towards the finish to see Carlos, Lindsay, Chris and others which were a bit of a blur. I decided to sprint out the end.

Total time: 2:52:26

I never expected a sub-three hour finish. I was very proud and excited by what I had done. I saw Mike at the finish line and he gave me a hug and congratulated me on my accomplishment (it was for me). I started spotting teammates and Carlos. I joined in the crew cheering teammates in.

I called my dad - and I stopped talking twice to cheer teammates in! It was a wonderful feeling to be there with my teammates and seeing other teammates finish strong.

Kathryn and I went over to grab food, and then went to go look at our results. I had finished third in my age group! Holy cow! First time ever. I was proud and a little confused...not sure what to say. I guess I learned that I can push myself, and I can compete. I can be fast. I am not near pro level (they finished about an hour faster than me) so I am not getting delusions grandeur...just having fun. As long as I can have fun and love what I do, I will continue to push my limits and see what I can do.

Whether pushing myself means I end up in the top 10%, or the last one in, or realizing that this isn't my race doesn't matter (even if that last one causes temporary disappointment - and I will admit, hoping my DNF doesn't happen 11/20 but who knows). What matters is being comfortable with what I can do, and having fun: living joyfully. Obviously I have been thinking!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My swimming world defined

I have many wonderful friends that comment on my swins in Daily mile - and often say "I don't understand what you are posting but great job!" They are right. It looks like a big math equation sometimes, with strange terms thrown in.

So, I thought I would help them by defining my swimming world.

Let's jump in.

Short Course (SC): in competition swimming this is a pool that is 25 meters. In the US it usually means a pool that is 25 yards. Many lap pools, such as LA FItness, are 25 yards short course.

Long Course (LC): Olpmpic Distance 50 meters. The pool at Dynamo is 50 meters. But they change the lane dividers to the short direction during the winter and have a 25 yard SC pool.

So, 2 our of 3 of my weekly swims are SC.

Lap: This term is up for debate. I consider a lap one trip down a lane. If I am in a SC pool that means 25 yards. If I am in a LC pool it means 50 m. You speak with some people (no dig on Chris Baker!) and a lap means there and back. He's more right - what I consider a lap is really a length (1 length of the pool), but it makes for easier counting for me, and that's what counts.

Length: 25 yards in a SC, 50 meters in a LC pool

T-pace: Threshold pace. Equivalent to your lactic acid threshold pace in running or biking. You are swimming hard at a semi-sustainable pace for medium distances. Equivalent to your 5 or 10k pace on a run, depending on your fitness. My T-pace (right now) is 1:39 for 100 yards.

The pull buoy is pictured. Basically you put it between your legs and it keeps you from kicking. So you are working your upper body.

Kick (K): use a kick board and fins

Paddle (P): swim paddles

Next I will put up a swim and pull it apart. Here we go!

W/U: 10 x 50 (:15RI)300 PULL
400@ T-PACE + :03(:20RI)
4 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI)
300@ T-PACE +:03(:20RI)
3 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI)
200@ T-PACE +:03(:20RI)
2 x 100 UNDER T-PACE (:20RI)
CD 300

That's it. Got it? Don't worry if you don't. There is no test. Now for a (partial) Line by line

W/U: 10 x 50 (:15RI)300 PULL

W/U: Warm up
10 x 50: 10 intervals of 50 yds/m apiece
(:15RI): with a 15 second rest interval between each interval

So, if I am in LA Fitness (25 yd SC)I swim 2 pool lengths and then rest 15 seconds. Repeat 9 more times. Exciting, huh?

300 pull: Swim 300 yds/m continuously using a pull buoy.

400@ T-PACE + :03(:20RI) : This is a long one. 400 yd/m continuous swim at your 100 yard T-pace plus 3 seconds followed by a 20 second rest interval. So I would aim to swim each 100 yard interval at 1:42. I swim the 400 yards continuously for a total of 6 minutes and 48 seconds. Then rest 20 seconds and go on to the next set.

4 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI): 4 sets of 100 y/m at my threshold pace. So I would swim 100 yards aiming for 1:39, rest 20 seconds and repeat three more times.

The rest is a repeat of the above, but at 300 and 200 yd/m intervals.

CD 300: Cool down 300 yards continuous swim

There have been other workout where it gets more complicated. For example:

200 as 50 Drill / 50 Swim / 50 Drill / 50 Swim
2 x 400, Negative Split (0:30 RI)
3 x 200, descend 1-3 (0:20 RI)

200 as 50 Drill / 50 Swim / 50 Drill / 50 Swim: 200 y/m continuous swim broken down in to 50 yd/m doing your choice of a swim drill, 50 yd/m as straight swim, 50 yd/m doing a swim drill, and 50 yd/m as straight swim

2 x 400, Negative Split (0:30 RI): 2 sets of 400 yd/m continuous swim with a 30 second rest interval between each 400 yd/m.

Negative split is just like running where the second half is faster than the first half. I take it to mean the second 400 is faster than the first. I am sure others would say the second half of the 400 (so the last 200 yards) is faster than the first 200 yards. But that gets really hard to time. I keep it simple.

3 x 200, descend 1-3 (0:20 RI): 3 sets of 200 yd/m swim with a 20 second rest interval between each 200 yd/m swim.

Descend means each set gets progressively faster. So if my first set of 200 yards was done in 4 minutes, my second should be less than 4 minutes (say 3:55) and my final set the fastest (say 3:50).

That's it. That's my primer. If you made it through - I hope you enjoyed.