Saturday, December 31, 2011

It was 41 degrees when I left the house...

OK for all my friends who saw me running this AM. Yes I was showing a good bit of skin. Long shorts and a sleeveless Nike Pro Combat top. When I left the house the weather link stated 41 degrees. I did have my lucky orange toboggan on. If the wind had been blowing I would of added a shirt with sleeves. The trouble with running at 5:30 AM is that the lowest temp is still to come. I assure you I was comfortable as I ran. Sitting or walking would have been difficult though.

This has been a lack luster week for me. 3 weeks out from the Rocket City Marathon and I had a couple of 16 milers and my usual weekly training runs. The runs have not been as fast as I would have liked and this weeks tempo was over my sub  7:00 minute pace goal. My swimming has been great. Imagine that, swimming overshadowing my running. (see best swim ever the sequel below).

With my sub par tempo I really needed a sub 8 minute 20 milers to finish this last week of 2011.  I was fortunate to pull that off this AM.  Mentally I really needed it for confidence.

Distance: 20 miles, Time: 2 hr 38 min 01 secs, Average pace: 7:54 min/miles,
7:54, 8:00, 7:47, 7:45, 7:59, 7:58, 7:47, 7:49, 7:46, 7:40, 7:51, 7:42, 7:47, 7:48, 7:51, 7:55, 8:11, 8:09, 8:07, 8:05,

I really did not think I had my head around this run and was not sure I could pull off a sub 8 minute pace. My Garmin wrist band broke before I got out of the truck, so I old schooled it with the mile markers along the trail. Garmin usually shorts the trail, so I ran to the end points where I usually add to the Garmin mileage. On twisty trails Garmin usually under figures trails and over figures street runs.  I will have a shorter run next week maybe a trail run and another 20 miler the next. I am trying to keep my base up for the Black Warrior 50K in February.

I topped last weeks time and added a little distance. Swimming just keeps getting better. I  am doing more with my arms and it really seems to be helping.
Distance: 1.76 miles at 1.69 mph, Time: 1 hr 02 min 23 secs, Average pace: 35:27 min/miles
Laps and breaks between sets, 500=10:01, :08, 500=10:03, :05,
 500=9:55, :07, 500=9:49, :06,
 500=9:56, :06, 500=9:59, :06,

So today  I burned 2295.4 calories and plan to pig-out with the family tonight. It is our tradition movies and snack food galore. I hope to bike 20 plus miles in the AM. Happy New Year to all my friends.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Swim Ever

Every September after my last triathlon my swimming and biking tank. Usually I do get better after a few weeks and I maintain pace and increase distance during the winter months. This year the same thing happened, but I did not get better. It got harder to swim and I was wearing myself out. Swimming is my least favorite activity and it is especially detestable when I am not improving. Fortunately the pool staff started offering critiques of swimmers in November. I availed myself of the service and the assistant pool manager watched me swim and made suggestions. The main problem was that I was short stroking.  I had not realized I was doing it, but the more I flailed away with the short strokes the more I had to. She told me to conscientiously touch my thigh on each stroke. From that point on my speed and stamina increased. Now I was able to work on other aspects of my swimming technique. 

So today after weeks of steady improvement, I swam faster and farther then at any other time.  
Distance: 1.7 miles, 1 hr 01 min 57 secs, Average pace: 36:26 min/miles, 1.65 mph.
(500=10:26, :08, 500=10:11, :06, 500=10:10, :07, 500=10:06, :05, 500=10:12, :06, 500=10:15)
I not only have gotten faster, but my pacing has improved. Before I would start out faster and then slow down with each 500 yard set. Now I start out and get faster or maintain a pace close to the other sets. I am very pleased with this pacing.

I believe there are 3 Ts to successful triathlons (Training, Technique, and Technology). Training is commitment to work hard and putting in the time to succeed. Technique is the little things that improve our efficiency in running, biking and swimming. I feel that good technique can impact swimming the most of all. That leaves technology which is what money can buy. Funding can provide better bikes, wetsuits, shoes, etc. that can buy you speed. For those of you who have heard me gripe about my crappy bike, you know I have to concentrate on the other two Ts.

When I started swimming I swam in a masters program with a coach. Decatur quit supporting that program last year and I have not had the benefit of a coach to help me improve technique. I am thankful that at least they now provide someone to help with advice and critiques of swimming. So kudos to Decatur Parks and Recreation.

Hopefully my swimming will continue to improve and I will shave a few minutes off my triathlon times this spring and summer.