Back on the Horse – 6.19.16


Last weekend took a lot out of me. Two days of being pushed by coaches followed by a grueling Triathlon on Sunday put me down for the count for a few days. Monday is my standard off day, but I was limping through Wednesday — even with 3 solid days of heat and Advil. And with other commitments in the back half of the week, today was my first training session since last weekend.

If you want a good Triathlon simulation, head to a local pool on a hot summer day. I wasn’t even thinking that with today being Father’s Day a lot of people would stake places during Adult Float and stay most of the day with the Beach being their Father’s Day event. So instead of a moderate crowd, there were a lot of people — and thus a bigger obstacle course.

So we worked around the crowds, first in the shallow (4ft) end and then in the deeper (13 ft?) water. I played around a little bit with my most favorite drill (bilateral breathing), but gave it up quickly due to the traffic. When we found a little clearer spot, Terri introduced yet another ‘fun’ drill. This one was swimming sidestroke, and IMO is far less fun than bilateral breathing. Like saying a root canal is more fun than a frontal lobotomy.

But just like with bilateral breathing, sidestroking will continue to be part of the workouts. Not because it’s fun, but because you need to have a Swiss army knife of skills out in the water. And since I know bilateral breathing saved me at Leon’s, I won’t fight sidestroking… too much. 😛

And after struggling to do 50m of sidestroke swimming, I have a new found respect for my guides. A lot of them are swimming 10-15 times that without issue to make sure we stay on course.

Back to the scene of the crime (Pleasant Prairie) next weekend. Hopefully I can get at least 2 runs and a swim in before heading back.

Walls in the Pool – 5/20/16


As I’ve mentioned in prior blog posts, you sometimes have bad workouts. Last night was one of those for me in the pool.

With about 45 min in the pool, my goal was to hit between 1300 and 1400 (including the breaks). Too get there during these shorter swims, I do increasing 100s — 100/200/300/400/500 (or part thereof). And it usually works out well, with me getting to or close to 1500.

But last night, my body just wouldn’t cooperate after the 200 piece. I was only able to get 50s in before I had to take breaks. And there were a couple of times that I had to stop mid-lap. That’s not happened for a LONG time. Thinking it might be too much CO2 in my lungs, I did some modified sink downs (as the pool is only 3 1/2 feet deep). That helped a little, but not enough.

I left the pool only having been able to get 750 in. While that wasn’t what I had planned to do, as I told my friend — Even a bad workout is a workout. It won’t always be perfect, but you still need to keep moving forward.

Back in the Pool – 2.10.16


Now with a benchmark for my 100s (and 400s) from the CSS test last week, I got back in the pool for an endurance day. That means that you just swim 300s, consistently.

As I had mentioned before about going out too fast, the first 25 or 50 of each 300, I was right on course. But for the rest of the 300, I was behind because I had spent too much energy. Something still to work on (among many others).

Beating in the Pool – 1.27.16


With the Half Marathon on Saturday, I had moved my 1 swim session to Wednesday this week. Wednesday sessions are endurance sessions, and typically have been okay for me. However, this one took a tremendous amount out of me.

While I was swimming straighter, and thus going a bit faster, I think the continued 200s just took their toll on me. Usually, I’m good to go after a 30-60 minute nap post-workout. But after that one, it took me close to two hours to get to a passable awakens, and I was dragging all day.

As tiring as that was, I know it’s just one more step towards getting better. And that it’ll get easier and less draining as time goes on. Onward and upward…

Training Notes – 1.17 – 1.19.16


With the Half Marathon less than a week away, we needed to get at least a couple of training runs in prior to it.

On Sunday, we got about 2 1/4 miles in on the indoor ‘gerbil track’ since it was about -15 with the wind chill outside. Things went well with the run, and this was the first time we had done the 1/2 mile run/1 min walk training. Prior to that, it had been 4/1 (walk/run) at best.

On Monday, I was back in the pool and that session went well. Even though there were challenges with the bilateral breathing drills. The taxi (303 Taxi) kept me waiting for 70 minutes after class. Not very fun having to wait that long on the coldest day of the year. Or having temporarily lost my work cell (I believe I left it in the cab and the driver left it outside).

On Tuesday, we ran again – and I ran into issues. At about 2 miles, I started to feel a twitch in my right knee. After doing some testing, Terri said that it was the IT band (again). So after we finished with the run, we stopped so I could get more Epson salt and a way to stretch. I will not be going anything except the baths, ice, stretching and recovery until Sat.

Pool work, Plan B – 1.11 / 1.13.16


While the workouts with Coach Seay are extremely helpful, and like bricks of gold, I had to cut back starting this week. The transportation costs are just too steep to continue doing it 3 days a week, so I’m down to 1 day a week until I can find someone to do it with me (and the driving). Until that happens, I thankfully have a friend that’s letting me use their club as a guest.

So this week, Monday was the normal training drills with Coach Seay and Wednesday was on my own. There is obviously a HUGE difference between having someone in your ears coaching you on and being on your own. But until I can get the transportation issue resolved, I need to stay with Plan B.

We’ll see how long it takes to resolve that – I know it’s early as crap, but there has to be someone in the area that can help me out.

A Busy Week in the Pool – 1.4 – 1.8.16


This week marked a month since I had started the indoor swim sessions. No, it hasn’t been fun to get up at 3:30AM to make it there in time or to be waiting out in the cold for 15 – 20 minutes until the center opens. However, it’s all been worth it!

With all the work that Terri and I did during the spring and summer, I had a decent base going into the classes. But Coach Seay has continually pushed me further and further from that point since December. There have been some struggles, but in general things are coming together.

This week was one of the most challenging between all of the drills and endurance training. Especially the breathing drills to the weak side (to develop bilateral breathing), and adding backstroke in. Not being able to have the normal visual cues from the bottom of the pool made it a very interesting set of laps.

I know that it will continue to get easier and all come together. It just takes time.

The rest of the month – December 2015


Between work, training and 5A swim classes, I fell behind on blog entries after December 12th. I considered doing individual entries for each, but I then decided one long entry would be easier to deal with than 19 short ones. So here goes…

The weekend of December 12th, I joined a local gym. I know the Chicago winter hasn’t gotten bad. BUT I knew it would at some point soon. I also needed the ability to get bike workouts in before the spring. The first weekend there, I succeeded in getting about 6 hours on the bike in. I also had an issue with the treadmills which taught me that I need to stay away from them unless I’m with someone else.

The following week consited of 3 swim workouts (including a double dip thanks to a friend letting me be a guest at their club), 3 hours on the bike and a very long day of running on that Saturday.

The following week started off with the normal swim sessions, along with an extra one (guest of my parents at their club). Then I had to pay for Christmas Eve on the bike. Every year, one of my aunts throws an amazing party and I typically ingest 2 days worth of calories (or more) in less than 6 hours.

So to pay for all of that, I spent a total of 9 1/2 hours on a stationary bike from December 25th – 27th. Let’s just leave it at that I found out very quickly that I need to invest in a nice pair of bike shorts before I try to do the planned Century in September 2016.

The final week of December started out with a normal set of swim workouts, and ended with a very hard run session. The swim session in the morning was the longest one I’ve done, and I didn’t realize how tight my body was. So needless to say, the run was a real challenge as my body kept getting tight. The post-session stretching was more painful than it has been in the past — there were a couple of times that I saw spots from the pain. But nothing’s torn, broken or hurt.

Because of that issue Wednesday night, I decided to make NYE a rest day. I had originally planned to go to the gym and ride the bike for a few hours after work. Instead, I spent the night with a good beer and relaxing.

Fish Training, 2nd session…


A LONG time ago, I was on the Lombard swim team. As part of that, the stroke that I ‘mastered’ was the breast stroke. Not too bad for 100m when I was 9 or 10; but a true challenge for 80m at 35.

So when we started the fish re-training in April, it was quickly decided that freestyle would be a better way to go. The first session was a lot of retraining and getting the feet down. The session this past Sunday involved adding in more arm movements, breathing, rocking and more. It’s still a work in progress, but it will come together in time.

Next planned fish session is Memorial Day weekend after when the outdoor pools open.