Swim class

Swim class went well, although there was some initial confusion.  For some reason when I showed up on time, they had started early, not swimming, but going over some drills and swimming basics.  So I missed that, and then because I didn’t really know anybody there and didn’t have a whole lot of confidence, I went with the beginner group, which turned out to be way too beginner for me.  They were working on drills, and I pretty happily worked along with them, but soon enough the teachers figured out I really belonged with the other group, so I joined them and picked up on their workout in the middle somewhere.

The teachers were both very nice and encouraging, and I felt like I got a decent amount of attention, in spite of that fact that there were a dozen or so people there.  I also did the backstroke for the first time since I was a kid!

What I really want from this class is some instruction on technique and possibly to gain more speed.  Obviously I won’t get a lot of one-on-one attention, but I do think I’ll learn things from them, so that’s good.

It turns out I know what I’m doing in the pool, at least on a basic level, which is a real confidence booster.  But I’m surely one of the slowest swimmers out there.  I’ll have to work on upper body and core strength to try to fix that …

I got outside on the bike for the first time in 2009 today; the ride was okay — it was 30s and not windy which feels pretty comfortable — but my God am I out of shape.  That’s what a few weeks off does to me, I suppose.  My legs felt okay, but my HR was so high I don’t want to give the number.  Too embarrassing.

Tonight I have my first swimming lesson with a new group, and I’m nervous and excited about it.  It would be nice if I weren’t the slowest, most awkward swimmer there …

And my doctor says I can try running again this week.  Only 10 minutes at a time, but it’s a start.  I’m supposed to stop immediately if it hurts, though, and I’m worried that it might.


I haven’t written here in nearly a month, largely because I’ve been feeling down about training, which is what even a mild injury can do.  I haven’t run since early December, December 6th, to be exact, in an effort to make that hamstring problem go away.  It’s still here, although it seems to be getting better.  I’ve been seeing the same Active Release Therapy guy who fixed my foot, and the treatments plus exercises are helping me make some progress.  I took nearly three weeks entirely off, for some mental and physical rejuvination, although sometimes it seems like taking time off only makes the aches and pains worse.  But now I’m back to cycling and swimming, and I’m hoping to add in running some time in January.  Hopefully earlier in the month than later, but we’ll see.  I’ll go ahead and sign up for some sprint triathlons in late spring, and we’ll see how it goes.

I’m not entirely sure what caused the injury this time around; it certainly wasn’t running too much, since I built up incredibly slowly and only got as far as running 33 minutes three times a week.  I think it’s a combination of a number of things, one being the running and cycling time combined.  I was never doing too many hours, never more than nine a week, including swimming too, but I think my body just might not have been used to all the sports at once.  Another factor, I’m guessing, is my lack of core strength.  I had been doing basically nothing for core and upper body strength — I hate doing exercises and never worked hard to find the time for them — and I’m wondering if the lack of strength and stability in the core/hip area made me vulnerable to injury.  The only other thing I can think of is my tight muscles may have been a factor.  I tried to stretch, but it probably wasn’t enough.

This past year was frustrating because of my running injuries, but cycling and swimming have gone much better.  I reached my highest ever mileage number on the bike: 4,339.  Last year I did something over 4,200.  This year I hit my highest mileage ever while adding in some running and swimming in the summer and fall.  Mileage aside, I had fun racing — I had no particularly good results, but I don’t care much about that; I just enjoy being out there and being able to hold my own with the men at the Tuesday night races.  I’ve had fun working on my swimming too.  I started out pretty awful, I’m sure, and now I’m less awful, and I’m taking a class starting next week that will make me less awful yet.  Yay!

For next year … I’m not sure.  With my running difficulties, it’s hard to say what I’ll do.  If injury allows, I’d like to compete in a few sprint triathlons.  Doing an Olympic one would be great, maybe later in the summer, but that will depend on the running, of course.  I’ll ride in some bike races, but I’m not sure when I’ll start that and how many I’ll do.  Mostly, I guess, I just want to be able to work out a lot, compete in a few races, and have fun.

My current swimming teacher said this evening that the improvement I’ve made since the summer is “incredible.”  Woo-hoo!  I’m still no great swimmer (by any means), but it’s nice to be improving.

Tonight’s swim was 1800: 500 meters warm-up, 800 meters of various drills, and then a 50, 100, 150, and 200, working hard on the last 50 in each set.

I still have some upper hamstring/hip pain that lingers … but it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse with training, so I’m hoping that regular stretching and not working too, too hard will make it go away eventually.  Otherwise training goes along fine.  I ran 3.25 miles this afternoon and headed out to the pool this evening.  I’ve lost some swim fitness in the last few weeks when I haven’t gotten to the pool often, but I’m hoping that will come back quickly.  I haven’t been happy with the swim class I’m in, but I signed up for a class at a different place, and I think it will be much better.

I checked out the triathlon schedule for next year, and people are starting to put their events up, which is exciting.  It makes it all seem more real.  And scary!

Back to training

My aches and pains only get worse … yesterday I was doing some new stretches and strength exercises and pushed myself too hard, and today my muscles are hurting.  This is getting a bit old!

BettyBetty asked me if I’m following Friel’s training program this year, and so far I’m not, although I have a habit of changing my plans frequently, so I may return to him.  I’m loosely following a plan from Triathlete magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide. Friel leaves so much of the actual day-by-day planning up to you, and I have been feeling like I want a little more guidance and specificity, which the new book gives me.  I liked Friel’s book on cycling better, but for triathlons, I felt he wasn’t differentiating the type of training you would need for sprint versus ironman competitions.  I thought he asked for too much base riding as well.  So we’ll see how the new plan goes … and how often I change it.

Rest week

I haven’t done any running, riding, or swimming since last Thursday over a week ago.  This rest week has had mixed results — actually, all the results I’ve seen have been bad, although there are probably good results that aren’t immediately obvious.  I know I needed a rest week to let my body and mind recover and to keep up my motivation, and that’s all good, but it hasn’t taken away my aches and pains as I hoped.  My shoulders were aching and now they are improved, but aren’t perfectly better, and I’m not sure the rest caused the improvement.  And my hamstring issue is only marginally better if at all. Fortunately this last problem wasn’t keeping me from exercising before the rest and so will probably be no more than an annoyance afterward, but I hoped it would be gone entirely.

And I’ve put on a few pounds because I don’t have the will power to cut back on my eating just because I’m not exercising. (Not exercising much — I did go on one hike and have walked here and there now and then.)

So next week is back to normal, although it will be busy with work things.  But I’m hoping to ride three or four times, run three times, and swim twice.  We’ll see how it goes.

30 minutes!

I finally worked my way up to running 30 minutes, and I’m injury free!  This is exciting because it means I can now compete in a sprint triathlon, since I ran a little over three miles in that time.  I wouldn’t finish it very fast, but that’s okay — at least I’m capable of finishing at all.  And now I feel like I can do some speed work as well as continuing to work on endurance.  I’d like to do an Olympic distance triathlon next year and so want to work my way up to an hour.  It would be very cool if I could do a half-marathon around this time next year, but we’ll see ….

Hmmm … I haven’t written here in a while.  I’m still training, although I’m slowing it down and will take a week completely off coming up soon.  I was having a great time training up until a week or so when I still felt like working out but began to notice some aches and pains and then realized that I’d better take a real break, or I’m going to be completely burnt out early next year.  I’ve got a weird thing going on in my hamstrings and also something weird going on in my shoulders, which makes me think I’m not stretching enough after swimming (I’m not stretching at all, really).

So this past week I ran and swam as usual, but rode only twice, and next week I’ll do something similar or even less, and the plan is to take the following week off entirely.

I had a good swim workout yesterday, more challenging than Tuesday’s.  I swam 2400 meters, which is a new record for me.  It took me a little over one hour.  The workout was something like this (all free):

500 on 12:30 (which gave me over a minute of rest)

400 on 9:40

300 on 7:00

200 on 4:30 (by this point I’m not getting a whole lot of rest at all)

100 on 2:10

8×25 on :45 (this was easy — I had at least 15 seconds rest each time)

4×50 on 1:15

2×150 on 3:20

200 cool down

There were times in there I’d have plenty of rest and times when I had maybe 10 seconds.  And there were times between sets when I took an extra minute or so …

Riding has been fine, just really cold.  I’m off to run shortly …