Training in Northeast Ohio in the winter can be all over the place. Of course, there’s always the option of indoor training, but outside is always preferred. Last Saturday we had a 60 degree day and I actually got to run outside—IN SHORTS! Not only that, but I wasn’t slipping & sliding on the snow. I actually had traction and a respectable time. I’ve realized that my running times in the cold (and especially) wet winter aren’t nearly as good as they are in the summer. Perhaps its because I’m not as in shape, or maybe I’m just not built for cold weather. I’m still not biking outside (don’t want to mess up my pretty bike!), so the trainer is getting used…at least as much as I can tolerate it.
Of course, there’s always the gym, which I’ve been utilizing a lot in the past couple weeks. I’ll typically do a strength workout then swim & rest in the hot tub. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing I also get more soreness from training. I guess it’s just somthing to learn to deal with.
I’ve now gone to Masters Swimming practice four times. Although I’m still in one of the slower lanes, I’m improving. I’ve been concentrating on my upper body form and it’s helping. Part of it is taking the feedback I get at practice and applying it to my solo training. Just today I did a random time trial on my own and I cut around 12 seconds off my 100y free time!
Wednesday evening I showed up at Lakewood High school, where they practice, a little early. Once I found the pool, I found Bob, the coach. I introduced myself and he asked me a few questions about my swimming experience. Around 30 people showed up for practice that night which I’m told is a lot. He assigned me to a lane (one of the slower ones!) which I shared with three other people—one of which I knew through work. The biggest challenge was figuring out some of the terminology they use. I picked up swimming on my own in college—never been on a team where I would have learned all that. Thankfully everyone was pretty friendly and helped me out. For the most part, I was able to keep up with the others in my lane, although I wasn’t always doing the right thing at the right time. Circle swimming in a lane with four people is challenging if you aren’t all at the same pace. I didn’t get any individualized instruction that night due to the size of the group. After we finished, the coach came up to me and explained that it’s normally not that crowded and to keep coming! So I did.
Thursday I showed up and the group was about half the size, partially due to the fact that Thursday practices are at 8:30 p.m. Jim coaches on Thursdays so I had a similar conversation with him as I did with the Bob the previous night. He asked if I minded him giving me advice on my technique, to which I replied “of course not, that’s why I’m here!” I only had to share a lane with one other person that night so we split it, side by side. This made it easier to concentrate on my form rather than just trying to not run into someone. After I swam for a bit, Jim started to give me some advice. Apparently I’m doing a bunch wrong (although he put it nicely). My arms don’t extend as far as they should, I don’t swim completely upright (flat) and I turn my body too much when I breath. All things that can be fixed with practice—possibly months just to fix the arm thing. He had me use a pull buoy for pretty much the rest of the practice to keep my legs up and concentrate on my arms. I was able to make some progress, although with years of swimming the wrong way, it felt odd and slow. At some point, I used my legs again for a kick set with 12, 50 yard intervals. Due to me being slow, I only had a few seconds rest in-between (if any). My legs hurt after. Jim said my body was dragging through the water rather than gliding on top, which would explain why I was so much slower. There was also a point where I was swimming back stroke and hit my head on the wall. I know to turn when I see the flags, but for some reason, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t. The coach saw that and told me to just swim freestyle for the rest of the set.
I do plan to go back. Hopefully this coming week. Although as I’m writing, I’m drinking ginger green tea because my throat is getting a little scratchy. I ran outside today and had also planed to also bike on my trainer, but just wasn’t up to it. I’m either getting sick or had a little too much fun last night.
In total, I will have been off work 11 days for the holidays. I had totally intended on doing some intense training with my time off, but that didn’t happen. I wasn’t totally lazy, I did work out almost every day but just at a low to moderate intensity.
Christmas eve: Woke up in my home town of Girard, Oh and ran 3.28 miles on my old high school cross country course—well, what I could remember at least. I ended up running in circles until I got around 5k. It was nice to sort of relive some good and not so good memories. My very first jr high race was a disaster. It was only 1.5 mi, I felt like I was going to die, I cried to my coach on the sidelines and finished dead last.
More running: Yesterday I ran in the snow at Edgewater. It was a slow pace and I blame the snow on the ground + dodging kids sledding. I really hate the winter (you’ll probably see that as a re-occuring theme). I have to wear 50 layers to keep warm and it slows me down. Can’t wait to get back into shorts and a tank top.
Cycling: Really slacking here. I’ve only done one trainer workout so far. I plan to do at least one or two more this week to make up for it.
Gym + swimming: I’ve spent most of my training time in the gym lately (it’s cold out!). Being that it’s the off-season, I’m trying to do more strength training to prep for next year. Everything I’ve read says off-season strength training can greatly help next season.
Most of my strength workouts were also followed by a swim workout (except today since the pool closed early, which I didn’t plan for!). I’ve spent a lot of time in the pool the past couple months and it’s starting to pay off. I did a 0.4 time trial a couple days ago @ 11:30, which is about :30 less than I was averaging a few months ago. I also plan on competing in a non-tri swimming event in GG9 (perhaps 100m free?). One of the requirements to register is being a member of a Masters swim club. This is a good thing because it will force me to actually do that. I had planned on starting last week, but practices were canceled due to weather & unexpected high school swim meets therefore I’ll go this week. I totally expect to get my ass kicked—and that’s a good thing.
Speaking of GG9, I completed my general registration last week!
I’m an amateur triathlete in Cleveland, Ohio. I competed in my first super-sprint distance tri in 2009. Months prior, I saw triathlon on tv and said to myself “I’m up for that challenge…” then did it. Aside from being a (very slow) high-school cross country runner, I have no prior experience.
This blog will be somewhat of at training diary for me. I plan to post at least once a week about my progress, gear I try etc.
More about me: went to Girard High School (Girard, Ohio), Kent State University (Kent, Ohio), work in marketing, love EDM (electronic dance music), a little obsessed with technology (especially anything Apple related) & have a 10+ year relationship with SeanSkiSez.