It has been a little over a year since I had a video of my swim. So I took the swimfit people up on their video session last night.
While my swimming has improved tremendously over last year in July, when I took my first adult swim lessons with TI in Chicago, I still have a looooonng way to go to swim like Michael Phelps :)
The first thing that we noticed on my first run, was that I am making circles with my stroke, a big no no. You see this means that I am pushing down on entry and pulling up on exit. You want to make motions in a linear fashion like climbing a ladder, with all of your effort going to pulling you forward.
You could see bubbles coming off on my hands on my entry which indicated that I was pushing down. I see now how using paddles can be effective in helping to correct this. George told me that once I start to pull until I exit on my stroke, my finger tips should be pointed at the bottom of the pool.
Also my flexibility came up again, only this time in connection with my upper body inhibiting my ability to stroke properly.
In addition, I need to keep my hands consistently wide on my catch and stroke, plus I of course need to be overall more balanced in the water, and keep my legs together with shorter scissor kicks to improve my streamlining.
Oh yeah, I am keeping my head to low which is driving my feet down as well.
The fix - kicking with my arms at my side (with or without fins) and rotating side to side, breathing without stroking.
Time my hip rotation a bit sooner with my stroke
Catch up drill or some form of front quadrant swim drill
lots and lots of slow deliberate stroking with my elbows high in the water
Stretch, stretch and then stretch some more.
Hopefully a year from now I will be able to look back and see the same improvement that I have seen since last July and be swimming a lot less Rock like!
It has been almost 2 months now since I got out of my SHOE, and I have to say, my comeback has been suprisingly easy!
Not to say that my training has been easy, it has been filled with hard sprints, hard rides, being dropped by the group, low blood sugar, hills and thrills! (the usual) But my progress has been tremendous.
With one week until I start running again, I can look at a lot of inspiring accomplishments on the bike and in the pool over the summer.
Let's start with the water, since often I am less than inspired with my performance in this area,,,,, it is just disheartening to see a 90 year old woman swim twice the distance that I do in an hour :)
The positive side is that I did a personal best 50 last month at 57 seconds and seem to get stronger every time that I get in the pool. My kick is becoming more effective as my flexiblity increases and hopefully will continue to improve.
I swam twice in Lake Michigan this summer, not the amount of times that I wanted to plus I have yet to visit the Lake Monsters in Chicago, but wetsuit season is here and I plan to make the pilgrimage yet this fall before things Ice over up there.
Now for the bike. I modified my OCR2 road bike even more this summer, upgrading to Ultegra shifters, cassette (11-28)and rear derailer, Gore cables, Dura Ace chain and front derailer, saving a grand total of 1.25 lbs and turning my bike into a 10 speed rear.
But even before I did the mods, I noticed that I was riding faster, with more endurance and more importantly climbing stronger. The only thing that I am doing really that much different from my pre injury time is sleeping more, like 9-10 hours per night on the average it seems. Which has caused me to miss a few swim workouts as I usually don't get home from my rides until late.
Another thing that I am doing different is fueling. Instead of trying to start with a relatively high BG say 200ish, I am shooting for more in the 120 range, eating a meal a couple of hours before my rides and then eating some fruit just before the start. In addition I am fueling with Motor Tabs www.motortabs.com which has only 18 carbs per liter that I mix. Also, I have really been concetrating on eating live food (no I am not talking about chicken or beef :)) but fresh fruits and vegetable, I am taking tryptophane as a sleep aid after particularly hard efforts along with my ReLiv mix and Arginine and ornathine to promote deep sleep and recovery.
Yesterday evening, I tried a new product called "Sport Legs" that claims to be able to improve performance by 11% well one of 2 things happened, either these little pills worked some sort of magic with me last night or skipping that morning swim workout in favor of eye surgery, paid off.
I rode with the Killer B group out of Nebo Ridge and finished on the front after 30 miles for the first time ever, about 8th at the end which included a couple of A's that we picked up along the way that got shelled off from that group. My average speed was my highest ever 21.9 mph for 30 miles!!
Likely it is a combination of all of the things that I am doing, but another thing I noticed when I went to stretch out (I have been stretching a lot lately so as to prevent another broken foot)
So I can't wait to start running next week (very carefully, slowly and with carefully measured increases in distance, warming up, cooling down and stretching out) I am very excited.
So I lead my first official JDRF group ride on Saturday.
It started off a little shaky with me not being able to print out any of the maps or cue sheets due to outdated Microsoft products on my computer and then getting my signals crossed thinking that the ride started at 8am when it actually was scheduled to start at 7:30am. So my planned 20 minute early arrival ended up being 10 minutes late.
But we were able to get underway pretty quickly once I got there and were on the road by 7:45am.
It was a great morning for a ride with the temp hovering around 60 degrees. We had a couple of missed turns to start with, as I had to adjust to the way the cue sheet was laid out by coach Alex. I had brought one with me that gave mileage point to point, but the official sheet was laid out as miles from the start to each turn. The good news is that the route was originally to be 78.5 miles and ended up being 80.5.
Danny, Kate, Kelly, Lisa, Sam and Tony were mostly good natured about the initial missed turns :) and as we headed north, worked well together in efforts to develop some critical skills for our Death Valley ride, including straight line drafting in a pace line, echelon formations for drafting in a cross wind and dual pace line to keep the pace higher in shifting wind conditions.
All in all it was a great training ride with the gang, a few aches and pains (my left foot started that burning thing, but I think a little glide on the affected areas might solve this dilemma) but no belly aches.
Yesterday, I took a rest day. Not a planned day, but I got up at 4:30 checked my Blood Glucose, it was 176 (perfect for pre swim) but my throat was a little scratchy and I was very sleepy even after 8 hours of sleep.
So I told myself that I needed to take the morning off as I had done 2 swim workouts on Monday for a total of 3200 meters. I bolused for my BG and went back to sleep, waking up barely in time to make it to work on time with a 51 BG. Needless to say that after 11.5 hours of sleep, I did not completely wake up until I was all the way to work. (I ususally wake up pretty fast)
I told myself all day that I needed to get in the pool last night, but I had to help a friend with something that was not supposed to take long and I was going to swim right after that......wrong. No workout last night.
I stayed up and watched "Lost" the next to last episode, didn't get to bed until 10:30 after taking my night time, Reliv vitamin shake, woke up this morning on 6.5 hours sleep and had a great workout. 2200 meters in 1 hour 2 minutes. If I had not forgot my swim suit in the truck and had to make 2 elevator trips and crutch all the way back and forth twice, I would have had another 2-300 meters in the warmup. So I felt great.
We did ladders and I am getting a lot closer to making the times that they are asking of us. Even with my gimpy leg.
So what I did well this morning 1. Breathing was more relaxed 2. coughed under water when I choked while trying to breath. (getting good at that when it happens - it pays not to get rattled when you choke on water while swimming) 3. I seem to be getting a little faster. 4. good length 5. kept stroke in front quadrant 6. kick more compact
3 Things that I wish to improve on 1. Elbows high 2. Turnover 3. Less Splash in high turnover
my top 3 mental strengths 1. stayed focused on the short goal - every half way on the pool 25m 2. stayed focused through choking 3. visualized perfect stroke
2 mental areas that I would like to work on 1. not loosing focus on max effort at end of sprint - would like to intensify effort at that point 2. get out of bed with more of a can do looking forward to my swim attitude
One thing that I always no is that no matter how tired I may be at the end of any swim workout, I always am glad I did it. Every stroke brings me one step closer to my goals for swim times and makes me a better swimmer.
My broken foot always looks better after I am done swimming so, there must be some sort of therapeutic effect going on there as well.
Goal wise, I felt guilty taking yesterday off,, but I think that it really paid off today. I have been much better at taking my vitamins twice a day and am paying very close attention to my nutrition. Now if I could integrate my BGs into my BT training log so that I could have yet another visual to show me how I am progressing, life would be perfect (grin)
I am having a little trouble getting my stretching routime started back up, but it won't be long until I get that and mynew core workout in full swing.
Thanks for following and see you tomorrow ..... don't forget that you can check my progress by clicking on the title link of the blog
So, I took a week off after breaking my foot to let it get started on the mend before I jumped back into the water. While my ankle is a bit stiff from the swelling and feels like it needs the joint popped, the water was great and I think swimming is threaputic for injurys!
I keep track of my nutrition and training totals at Beginner Triathlete and I believe that you can view my progress and history just by following the link in the title. Please let me know if that does not work.
Part of my work with John Elsworth involves journaling and I am going to make this a part of this blog so that I can be consistent with both and kill 2 birds with one stone, same with the idea of linking to my BT training log.
So three things that I did well this morning were 1. got up with a positive attitude looking forward to getting in the water 2. did all of the intervals with the exception of kicks, with in the prescribed time limit 3. Good stroke technique
2 things to work on 1. effectiveness of kick - more compact, in box, point toes (tough right now) faster cycle, less flex in knees 2. turnover or stroke rate
Going Forward - tonight I am going to work on my stroke rate (I left my tempo meter sitting at the pool when I gathered my things, hopefully it will still be there or in lost and found tonight)
I was slowest in my lane again, but feel like all things considered I am improving, feel my grip on the water getting better, we did a few hundred meters of fist drill to work on using the whole arm in the stroke and I can feel that grip getting better all the time. I also have a tendency to pace instead of going all out and I am going to work on that as well tonight.
It has been a long time since I have blogged. Sometimes it seems like this just gets put on the back burner of my priority list.
It has been November since I have blogged here and shame on me. I have posted my thoughts and notes on my Beginner Triathlete account in stead of this and from now on have resolved to just post a link to this blog and vica versa, to keep me accountable to those who have followed this blog (thank you)
Since November, I have broken my foot twice (the last time 8 days ago in the first mile of the Indianapolis Mini Marathon and the first time the day before Christmas. I have had 6 eye surgeries for Diabetic Retinopathy, lost most of the vision in my right eye in February, due to a hemorage. Developed tendonitis in my left ankle, and had my wisdom teeth removed. Had my training interupted for a solid 8 weeks due to that first foot break (the 4th metatarsel in my left foot.
Also, I have competed in one 15 K running event with a personal best time, one sprint triathlon, with a personal best time and one Olympic Triathlon with a personal best 10 K run and swim time in some adverse conditions. I also started my 4th Indianapolis Mini Marathon.
So here I sit with 2 broken bones in my left foot and planning my strategy for the summer. It has been said of 2 time heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, that he was the boxer that got knocked down the most, but what people remember about him is that he was the boxer who got up the most.
With this in mind, I am treating this current injury with a different view. First, I started by going to a Dr that gave me a lot of encouragement during my last injury about getting back on the run. Also I have in my plan more patience on the recovery along with some alternatives that should make me come back stronger. I will likely not compete in any event that involves running until 2011.
I have determined to focus on improving in all the areas that I am week (i.e. flexibility - likely the cause of my current condition, improving my swim, my mental race game...)
I also am going to blog on a daily basis and make that a priority, because if anyone is reading this it will keep me accountable.
My Dr has okayed me to swim as much as I like during my recovery, so I am sure that most of my posts will be swim specific during at least the next 4 weeks of recovery. I have drafted a plan that should help me to actually have a stronger more flexible core, by the time I start biking again and certainly by the time I start running.
My wonderful and lovely wife immediately came up with a brilliant Idea the day that I hurt myself, she said,"Honey, why don't you do Chi Walking for a few months to improve your form before you start running again, once you get out of the boot."
This is where I am, picking myself up from another knock down and going forward. Some of my goals have changed, in that thanks to the coaching of John Elsworth, my mental game coach, I can actually see myself on the podium when I come back, which by the way this injury is not a negative, it is a chance to come back better than I was before and to take what I have learned to make me a better competitor and athlete.