Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Very Merry Un-Birthday To Me!

This morning I went and picked up my bike, which was outfitted with the new pedals. These shoes and pedals are an early birthday present from Drew. Again, I'm just reminded how lucky I am to have such a supportive boyfriend in all of this triathlon stuff. I got really lucky when I picked up my bike, because even though the shop was pretty busy, the guy who was helping me really made sure that I was going to be okay before he let me go.

First, he had the guys loosen up the pedals so that it would be easier to get my shoes in and out. Then we went outside and he walked along beside me holding my arm while I practiced clipping in and out several times. He also gave me some tips about riding in traffic (don't clip both feet in - at least not yet) and suggested that I practice clipping in and out at home with my arm against the wall. He said it'll get a lot easier once I can learn where the cleats are and then it'll be pretty automatic.

I then rode myself over to the park and met Drew for a quick ride in the park. I didn't crash or fall over on my way there, which I thought was successful. I had to wait for him for about 10 minutes, so I spent that time just going back and forth on a little patch of sidewalk and clipping in and out. The clipping out is a lot easier for me to do than getting in. The guy at Toga said that clipping in will get easier as my pedals are used more. I also am having an easier time getting my right foot in, but I'm sure with practice my left foot will get more used to this.

I did notice that I feel like I'm giving about the same effort, but it all seems a lot easier with these shoes and pedals. My speed, however, did not reflect that. I went 5.15 miles in 21:17 (14.5 MPH pace). I'm not too worried about that. At least I didn't get worse than I was before! I'm sure that once I get more used to clipping in, I'll be better. I spent at least 3 minutes starting out trying to get my left foot clipped in. I'm sure that didn't help matters any. I also didn't really do a long ride today because I didn't want to be too tired for swim practice this afternoon.

When I got to swim practice, coach Megan wasn't there. Instead coach Dave was. I introduced myself and then hopped in the pool to see what sort of workout I was in store for. Turned out to be a really long one:

300 Warm-Up
8 x 50 Drills
300 Pull
3 x 300 Main Workout
100 Easy
3 x 150 Main Workout II
50 Warm-Down

Total: 2500 meters / 70 minutes

Oh, yeah, that's right. I found out that the pool is in meters not yards. That means that my previous paces weren't quite right. Either way, it still felt like a good workout all the times before! I've noticed at the swim workouts that people tend to come about 2 minutes late, which makes choosing a lane a little bit harder. Mostly because I'm on time and I'll get in a lane without a lot of people only to discover 5 minutes later that it's packed. Today I went in the 2nd fastest lane, thinking that I would be happy to travel at the back of the pack but would still get a good workout. That's not exactly what happened.

We started with the 300 warm-up. We did some alternating breathing and some single sided breathing during the warm-up. Then we moved onto the drills. The 8 x 50s were broken down into 2 x 50 skull, 2 x 50 drill, 2 x 50 kick, 2 x 50 head-up freestyle. I noticed right away that traveling in the middle of the pack was probably a little slower than my normal pace. I decided to stick it out in the middle as I knew I just didn't have the stamina today to lead for very long. We did do a lot of switching around in my lane to try to get the pacing to work out right.

After the first set of drills, we did 300 pull. We did the first 100 alternating breathing, second 100 breathing every 4th stroke and the last 100 alternating breathing. I will admit that I forgot at some point during the second hundred what I was supposed to be doing and just started breathing every time on the right. I did correct myself once I remembered. Oops.

Then came the long set. I'm actually glad that we did a long set. I've felt like my last few swim workouts were shorter sets, which I think is good, but I was sort of in the mood for a long swim. The 900 was broken down into 300s. The first 300 was descending pace (slower to faster), the second 300 was tempo pace (about 85% effort), and the final 300 was fast. Being stuck in the middle made me feel like the whole thing was pretty much about the same 75% effort. The girls who were swapping off the lead the majority of the time did ask me a few times if I wanted to lead, but I was content to just hang back today.

I changed my mind when we learned our next task would be to swim 100 easy. I went ahead and volunteered for that! The funny thing was that when I was heading back on the first 50, I realized that there were 2 less people in the lane. They had thought the workout was over and had gotten out to start heading to the showers. They were wrong. They had to get back in the pool and finish the workout.

Next we did 3 x 150s that were identical to the prior workout (descending, tempo and fast), just shorter. I somehow got roped into finally leading the lane on the last fast portion. On the last 50 of that set, I really pushed hard since I knew that would be the end of the workout. When I got to the wall, coach Dave looked at me and said that my stroke looks great! I was so happy to hear that. I had been wondering for a while now if I really remembered everything I learned about swimming as a kid. I think I was also really happy to hear that it looked good while going fast. I know I feel sometimes that my stroke might be going to hell in order to try to go faster, but it was good to know that it still looks good.

Finally, we were given a 50 cool-down and we got to hit the showers. I know I didn't put in 100% effort today, but it was still a killer workout and I'm exhausted. Definitely going to be an early night for me. I'll have to practice that whole clipping in thing tomorrow instead.

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