Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good Times and Big Climbs, But Still Drowning

This has been a good week so far. I'm battin' a thousand on getting out of the bed when I'm supposed to. I'm finally starting to get into the groove of triathlon training again. I'm having to do a lot of switch-a-roos with my daily training schedule to accommodate my ever-patient family and my "hour and fifteen minutes from my house" swim class, but that's okay. That's the name of the game when you're not just a triathlete, but rather a "wife/mother/employee/triathlete". I mean, does it really matter if I do my 75 minute easy spin on Monday instead of Tuesday and my 40 minute easy run on Tuesday instead of Monday?

Probably, if I had time to worry about it long enough to do the research. I'm sure there's some reason that spin needed be done on Tuesday. But there's also a better reason - like book reports and spelling tests and baseball practice and birthday parties - that I needed to do it Monday. Hypothetically speaking, that is. I actually think I've stuck pretty close to schedule this week, but not most weeks. Nevertheless, I'm still getting pretty close to the recommended mileages, and I'm happy with that.

I'm also happy with my climbing legs today. For the first time ever, yesterday, I climbed Alto. If you live around here and cycle much, you've heard of Alto. It's supposedly the mac daddy of climbs around. I've shied away from it for over 3 years now. I've been afraid of not making it to the top. I've asked several people over the years if I'd be able to make it - on my bike (QR Kilo, a double on the front, and the biggest gear on the back is a 23) - and nobody has ever really indicated they thought I could. We call it a mountain around here, but it's actually the Cumberland Plateau.It's around three miles of climbing with very little relief until you reach the top. The steepest part is a 21% grade. I got an invitation to join Joe, Kevin and Steve in climbing to the top of it, and I decided to go ahead and take them up on it this time. I was pretty nervous about it, but I slowly and steadily reached the top without too much drama. I had a couple of urges to quit...but the pain in my quads and the burn in my lungs was not as painful as the thought of having to come back home and report that I did not make the climb, so I forged ahead. Pride is a powerful thing. Sometimes dangerous, but definitely powerful.

When we all got to the top, we rode through the University of the South campus and celebrated the year's first big climb with a frosty cold one. We discussed upcoming races, rides and training. Joe agreed to be the swimmer for a relay team comprised of him, Holly and Heather for the Gulf Coast Half Iron. Descending the mountain was scary and cold. I'm not much for screaming downhill and around horseshoe curves at 40 mph. I opted to ride my breaks all the way down...and at one point I thought they might actually go out. When Joe got to the bottom, he noticed that his back wheel was, like, nearly broken. It was wobbling all over the place and rattling with loose spokes! Poor Joe...he's gonna have to go buy some brand new smokin' aerowheels, now. ;)

So this morning brought an easy 30 minute recovery run and a 2800 yd swim. I went easy on the treadmill and got barely over 3 miles in 30 minutes as I listened to CNN talk about the NY Mayor that' s in some seriously deep crap. Then on to the pool where I had another terrible swim.

Here's the deal. First of all, swim coach says I'm crossing my arm too far across my body when it enters the water for the stroke. It causes me to rotate too much and messes me all up. So I've been trying to correct that by swimming with fins and focusing on swimming wide. But another problem I have is that I never feel like I'm in a rhythm while swimming, unless I'm breathing every other stroke and on the same side. But when I time my splits - my 100s are a good 5 seconds faster when I breath every other stroke. So what do I do?!?

I am so partial to breathing on the left side. When I try to breath on my right, I can barely get face out of the water enough to get air. It's like I sink when I am on that side. But somehow, I am obviously faster when breathing bilaterally. Comfortable? Not so much. In any triathlon I've ever been in, I go through a couple of sets of bilateral breathing and then immediately switch to every other stroke on the same side. I struggle with whether or not I should even work on it...because when I enter the Gulf of Mexico with 2000 other swimmers, am I really going to be breathing bilaterally? Unless something drastic changes - no. To sum it up, it was a horrible swim. And I also had to cut it 300 yards short to get home in time this morning.

One day I feel good swimming, the next day I am drowning. And so it goes...


Mallie said...

The more you train the more technical everything gets. There's so much lingo in my weekly workout schedule my head spins, and I don't train for a multi-sport. I don't know how you keep it all straight. Keep on rockin' the bike and I'm sure the swim will come along soon.

momo said...

you're doing wonderfully! the whole process is just putting one foot in front of the other and you're doing that - figuring it all out. it will all come together come race day, i promise!! you're just building the foundation right now!

and BOY, do i hear you on the mom/wife/taxidriver/triathlete deal. in my experience, you get the workouts in when you can. there's no perfect model for how to do it/when to do it. that's why there are so many different plans out there! just keep doing what you're doing, lana. and keep it fun and you'll be fine!!