Friday, September 23, 2011

How Your Catch Should Feel To You

Feel For The Water! Advice & Tips to Improve Your Swimming.: How Your Catch Should Feel To You

Good article for where I am with my swimming now. I am getting better about keeping my elbows up, but I am probably trying to 'brute force' the pull too much. As always, more practice!


Monday, September 5, 2011

The Ride of FrankenBike

We have several sets of aerobars lying around the garage, mostly from Donna trying to get the right set on her bike... that got me to thinking. I have already converted my road bike pretty close to tri geometry with Profile Design Carbon Stryke bars and a new seatpost to move the seat forward... why not try to install a set of real aerobars? So I gave it a shot. First I tried her original base bar with my Carbon Stryke bars... that seemed ok so I switched it all to this set of Vision bars. I even got to run the brake cables internally, even though there is a pretty tight bend coming out of the shifter.
From Darren's Fitness Quest
From Darren's Fitness Quest

No, road shifters were not intended to mount that way... but hey, I tried it out today and it DID work!

It was VERY windy here today. We have a 'Red Flag' warning even: * WIND...NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH. I rode my usual 'one hour' loop, and averaged just a little less than my 'normal' time, even with the wind. It seemed easier to reach higher speeds, and my lower speeds into full headwind were not as low as usual. I am calling this a success!

The shifter mounting was temporary to try it out, I will be ordering regular bar end shifters and brakes now, to clean up FrankenBike a little! :)


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Racing Weight

Humm, am I doing this backwards? Interesting note about the high intensity intervals. I do tend to train with a pretty high heart rate at least. 

Racing Weight: Training To Be Lean

Redman 2011 Bike Route Tour

Update, tour data is fixed and I will upload the Computrainer version as soon as I test it out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Workout

Since I took the Swim Smooth test to determine swim type and came out Bambino, I decided I had something to work on. Yeah I ain't got rhythm... and I am also lacking power. Today I went and did a ton of pull drills... working on keeping my elbows high, producing more stroke power, and trying to time my strokes better including better breath timing. Wow, yeah probably too much to work on at one time. I really felt like I made some improvement though! I had a few moments of greatness where I felt like it just all clicked. So all in all it was a good swim day!  
New Goal: 500 yards in 15 mins!

Freestyle - High-Elbow Catch - GoSwim!

Freestyle - High-Elbow Catch - GoSwim!

Freestyle - Fist / Open Finish - GoSwim!

Freestyle - Fist / Open Finish - GoSwim!
This looks like a good one! Pretty cool site overall.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Swim Types

I just ran across this from the Swim Smooth blog and thought it was interesting. Swim Types:

I did the questionaire and it says I am most likely a Bambino... Wow, really? I would at least hope to be an Arnie!
Maybe it is mostly because my swim is so slow... the next closest choice was the Overglider, but my stroke rate is way too high for that I think. I am counting 25 to 30 per 25 yards... without really kicking off the wall though.

This is one characteristic of the Bambino that rings true... "Struggles to breathe from lack of lead arm support". I do have to look into this some more and see what drills I can do to help improve that. But I guess the main drill is just swimming a lot.

Here is the swim analysis of an 'improved' Bambino, looks pretty good to me!

My swim is just so darn slow it is frustrating. It takes me about 19 minutes to swim 500 yards in the pool. That just ain't right. I am going to spend a little more time working speed now that I can do 500 yards pretty comfortably. I'm also planning on getting started back with Tri Swim this week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ain't Over Till It's Over

I remember posting this song to my Facebook page after Lonestar... after I decided to keep on pursuing triathlon. I decided to keep going with it and signed up for coaching. I even signed up for the Galveston 5150 this October.

Maybe it is over.

Between work and the tri training I have been just beat lately. I have also been feeling like I have no time to do the things I really want to be doing like fishing, weightlifting, and working on my old project car. I have had no desire to do any more races after the Sylvan Beach Duathlon, which I didn't even post about. I took some time off to go visit my mom in Alabama, and decided to end the coaching after that. It just was not the right thing for me. I just don't want to devote that much time to it.

I have not had much activity this week. I went on a run today, but didn't get out until 9:00. That was a mistake made even worse by my current mental state with respect to tri training. The run was a real struggle of 'why am I doing this' and 'just quit and forget it all', particularly after halfway. I took long walk breaks and shortened my run intervals, but there was no motivation in it at all.

Actually that nails it, no motivation.

So am I going to finish it out and do the 5150? Honestly right now I am thinking no. I made a list of pro's and con's for doing triathlon right next to my list for getting coaching, and the lists were not that different. But, maybe I just need to work on my own for a few weeks and 'reset' to see if I feel any different about it.

Triathlon Training Video: Getting Level In The Swim –

Triathlon Training Video: Getting Level In The Swim –

This is a good one!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

COMBAT Triathlon Report

I have now done my second triathlon! At Tri Swim last Tuesday night we did the 300 yard pool 'snake' swim that would be in the COMBAT Triathlon on Saturday. I made it through pretty well so I signed up for the race!

SWIM (300 yards in 9:59)
The swim start took forever since I was number 322, we were seeded in order of our 300 yard swim time, and everyone started 10 seconds apart. I had timed my swim at the pool in 24 Hour Fitness at 10:55. I ended up doing it in 9:59! And even that was with catching my breath at the walls and letting people go past me. Much room for improvement but still a win for me. Coach Chris (Tri Swim coach and now one of my new tri coaches) was doing the swim start, so it was nice to hear a familiar "Ready... GO!" to get started!

T1 (2:38)
I had quite the n00b mistake in T1... I put my running shoes on! I grabbed my bike and started toward the line, then noticed... aww crap! And of course there were lots of fellow BAM! club member volunteers around to share (and laugh) with my misery. The really funny (or not) part of this picture is that the guy coming in with the LJFAT uniform is Donnie Artley... who won our age group. He was coming back from the bike before I even left! Note the long delay to swim start though. :)

BIKE (15 Miles in 48:56, 18.4 Mph, Avg HR 163)
I had a great bike! Tailwind to begin with, so I took max advantage there. I kept my heart rate around 160 and my cadence around 85 all the way and just shifted to whatever gear let me keep close to that. Since I was slow on the swim, I got to pass a lot of people! I don't think I was passed at all. I like that part at least! Garmin data here.

T2 (2:33)
More trouble in T2... this time some woman was trying to rack her bike in my spot! Right on my number. Then she tried to put the rear wheel on the bar and things got tangled up with my handlebars. It turned out she was supposed to be on the OTHER side of the bar... where she finally went, only to shove her bike back over to the wrong side. (Even with another volunteer helping) Argh!

RUN (3 Mi in 33:11, 11:03 pace, Avg HR 170)
My tentative run plan was to just run the whole thing with no walk breaks. I had not done that for 3 miles before, but came pretty close in training once. But not after a swim and bike. That idea fell apart after 15 minutes. I have been running 10 minute intervals, so I should have kept that going but I didn't quite manage that either. I ran 15 minutes at 10:33 pace, then took a break for a minute. I realize that was way past what I have been training to, the next couple of intervals were only 3 minutes each. I rounded it out with 7:44 of run at the end. I could have done better if I had stuck to my 10 minute intervals! I sprinted at the finish and found a new max HR of 189.  Garmin data here.

I was a little sad to be last in my age group of 12, but then I realized I was 171 out of 244 overall. Not too bad for my second triathlon! Particularly when I have only been swimming 6 months and decided to do the race in the last few days. I have only been running a couple of years now too. So I have lots of room for improvement.

So the plan is to continue Tri Swim, going twice a week now. The Thursday night class has less beginners so it is much more aggressive, but that kind of pushing would be great for me. I am signing up with MC Tri Training in preparation for the Galveston 5150 this October. I will probably be doing a few more sprints before then, and lots of open water swim training. It's going to be quite an adventure!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Swim Miracle

Happy Easter!

I made it to the pool today to work out some of the soreness in my legs. I hadn't done anything but swim since Lonestar, so I started getting back at it. After a hard 4 mile run on Friday and a 31 mile bike followed by a short run yesterday, my legs were really sore.

I started out with fins, doing lots of kick drills. I have been doing a lot of side kicking to work on getting comfortable in that position and stay balanced. I also did some 'Superman glide', transitioning that to swim. I did a couple of 50's, which were a little better but still felt hard.

Donna had suggested that I swim 300 nonstop, then I would know I was ready to do Silverlake. She thinks that would be a great one for me. After the 50's I was thinking the only way I could swim 300 straight open water with no wetsuit would be with a pull buoy! And I am trying to overcome that addiction... lol

I kept doing drills and even swam 25 breast stroke. Then after half a pool length of drill, I started swimming. After I hit the wall and turned around I suddenly noticed that I could feel water splashing over my hip... it was getting air! I was swimming with my hips up, without excessively kicking, just what I had been working on! That was almost like swimming with the pull buoy, but without it! I kept going and made 6 more full laps. I had no idea I was going to be able to do that today, something finally clicked!

Now I am taking another look at Silverlake. :)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Pull Buoy Addiction

I found this article from Coach Emmett Hines about the lack of balance in the water and Pull Buoy Addiction. Well I can definitely say I am a recovering addict! Leading up to Lonestar, I started really hating swimming... unless I was using the pull buoy. I swam 500, then 1000 no problem with the buoy but would struggle to go 50 without it. Here is the article,
Of Air and Gravity, by Coach Emmett Hines

Here is another review of the pull buoy as a tool from Total Immersion
Tool Review #2: Pull Buoy — Crutch or Virtue « Swim Well and Live Well: The Blog of Total Immersion Founder Terry Laughlin

So what am I doing? I took it out of my pool bag for starters, and I am working on achieving my balance without it. It would be useful in practicing strokes, but I see that it is detrimental if overused. It can easily become a crutch, or did for me. I think my journey of learning will be faster without it.


Video: Secrets of Speed Part 1 of 9 « Swim Well and Live Well: The Blog of Total Immersion Founder Terry Laughlin

Video: Secrets of Speed Part 1 of 9 « Swim Well and Live Well: The Blog of Total Immersion Founder Terry Laughlin: "

I have been trying to improve my swim by focusing on efficiency in the water. Total Immersion is really big about that, and this video series explains it well. Now to be able to implement!


First Triathlon!

I finally completed my first triathlon, the Lonestar Sprint in Galveston, TX!

I have been working on learning to swim since November. When I started, I was struggling with half a pool length. Now thanks to Coach Melanie and working over the winter I was actually able to swim the open water 500 yards!
I did not do as well as I had hoped, I think I lost focus and had my head up way too much. But at least I got through it! Swim time: 19:11, rank 508 out of 556. I put in way too much energy and was not feeling good about it when I got out of the water.

I ran up to the wetsuit strippers, the guy was counting to three as I laid there waiting on him to pull... just pull it dude! LOL I was out of breath on the way back to transition so I ended up walking. T1 time: 4:52.

I hit the bike hard, passing several people as they were trying to get clipped in right off the bat.
There was a full headwind on the way out to the Galveston seawall, with some rough roads and a no passing zone in there too. Once I hit the seawall, it was a crosswind from the water. Then I started passing people. :) I got past quite a few from my swim wave, and even some folks with 20's on their calf. Sweet! I caught just a little bit of a tailwind on the way in too.
Bike was much better than the swim, but that is the sport I have been doing the longest too. Bike time was 45:15 for a 16.6 mph average. 290th place, almost middle!

I somehow had a super quick T2 of 1:58, and that was even with having to turn around after a couple of steps to grab the Garmin off the bike. Then I forgot to start it right when started running, oh well!

I must have started the run WAY too fast. I am not sure what happened there even. I could not maintain my intervals during the run, ended up walking more than planned. But I still PR'd the 5K in 31:09 for a 9:59 pace! 413th overall.
I ended up 48 out of 55 for my age group with an overall time of 1:42:22. The first thing Donna asks me is whether or not I am ready to do another one. I told her to ask me after a few days. Just not sure if I liked swimming enough to keep at it to do another one. Since then I have been working on getting more efficient in the water, and I think I will like it better as I get better. We'll see! I will post more on some swim stuff I have been looking into.