Five Weeks to Go…

The BIG RACE is only five weeks away. I’m nervous that I won’t meet my goals this time around. Actually, I’m pretty confident that I WILL NOT meet my goals for the race, but I’ve still got them down as goals, and I’m still aiming to try my best to meet them. We’ll see in five weeks how I actually do.

The last few days have been better for training then the last few months leading up to now. Although distance isn’t quite up to schedule and quality isn’t there yet, quantity of workouts is. I’m proud to say that I’ve worked out three days in a row, which has been unheard of since the beginning of the year.. and Wednesday was only missed because it was Ash Wednesday, and the best way to begin the Lenten Season is to go to Mass.

Tuesday and Thursday, I was able to get two good swim sessions in. I’m pretty confident that I will be able to survive the swim leg of the triathlon, though my time will probably be closer to an hour than 30 minutes. What I don’t really understand is how the middle-aged guy sharing the lane with me at the pool can go so much faster when he’s heavier and has a way sloppy, inefficient-looking stroke. Halfway through my workout I realized it’s probably due to three main reasons: (1) he’s got longer arms than I do; (2) he’s been doing this at least three times a week for years and years, which makes gives him a more powerful stroke, but he hasn’t joined a masters program, which is why his stroke is sloppy. Just imagine how fast he’d be if someone corrected that stroke for him; and (3) he’s got years of excess weight on him that helps him float, while I have to keep kicking my legs and pressing my head down to keep myself level (taking precious energy away from my stroke). It’s ok though. I realized long ago that I will never be a super strong swimmer. As long as I can get out of my wetsuit and on to my bike without dying, I’ll be happy with that.

Somethings that I love about going to the pool. First, synchronized swimming. I’ve seen it on TV and in movies, but I’ve never had the privilege to see it in real life. Luckily for me, there’s a synchronized swimming team that meets at the WAC the same time that I go out to lap swim. It’s interesting to watch, especially if you’re doing laps in the lane next to their end of the pool. You can see them doing their turns and moves underwater. You also realize that they can hold their breath for a really long time while being upside-down and having incredible control over the movement of their legs. That and they can really hold a beat. I know that I can’t here the music when I’m underwater, which means they probably can’t either.

Second, water polo practice. Actually, this is more of a like-hate emotion. I like that water polo practice is going on at the pool because the players disturb the water a lot. This means that if I swim in the lane next to their end of the pool, the water is a bit more turbulent, which is a little closer to simulating open water swimming (the waves and such). However, this is a stretch at best, and most of the time, I don’t like the presence of the water polo players. For one, they’re all young high school age kids, who have gotten more annoying by the year. For two, there are lots of them, all over the place, and their parents, and their little siblings, and their friends. They more or less take up the entire pool (except for the end with the synchronized swimmers and the couple lanes open for lap swimming).. and even then, sometimes they take up one or two of the lap swimming lanes.. and sometimes they take up so much of the pool that the synchronized swimmers get pushed into the corner. Now that I think of it more, I don’t really like that aspect of the pool so much.

Third, my music. A few days ago, the Fat Cyclist posted a blog entry about an H2O Audio product called the Interval Waterproof Headphone System. The one he got was for the Third Generation iPod Shuffle. Minh got me the same(ish) product, but for the Second Generation iPod Shuffle, many many months ago, and I rarely go swimming without it (You can read a brief review of it here: First Swim of the Year). The product is currently out of stock on the H2O Audio website, but you may be able to find it elsewhere (like Amazon or eBay). The great thing about this system is that it completely drowns out the sounds of the waterpolo practice, synchronized swimming music, and the high school band that often practices late at night. What I found interesting was that if someone else in the pool also has some sort of swim-music-mp3 system going, I can often pick up their music in my headphones (and they can probably also pick up mine). I think it’s the same guy each time, because the music is the same (something symphonic or orchestral, that you can picture an epic battle scene playing out to). It’s a bit like listening to Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain or Pictures at an Exhibition, but mashed up with my music (which is usually a mix of alternative-pop-punk or hip-hop/dance music – keeps me going).

Friday, I got in a quick run – 4 miles. I hadn’t run all week (since the OC Chili Winter Trail Run #1). That’s really bad news, since my legs really need the workout. The run was not good. The first half was painful because my legs were out of shape. The rest was ok once I was warmed up, but my calves were tight the whole time, and my shins are not loving me. After the BIG RACE, I’m going to have to build up a lot of strength to be injury free for Silverman.

Saturday, Minh and I got in a short bike ride – about 25 miles. I wasn’t ecstatic about my average speed (somewhere around 16 mph), but I was also acutely aware of the fact that I haven’t been putting the time in on the bike (or the run or the swim) that I should be. I really need to buckle down on the workouts/training for the next five weeks.. especially if I don’t want to be the last one crossing the finish line (and especially because I actually want to cross the finish line). I should be tapering down soon, but it seems like I’m still in the build phase. Just means that at this rate I’ll “peak’ at the race.. which might not be such a bad idea.

Sunday and Monday I got lazy, what with book club and Monday Night Dinner. I did, however, put Minh’s 45-day free pass to LA Fitness to use (signed up on Sunday). He got the pass as part of a settlement LA Fitness made with its previous members. Something about being charged after terminating membership. It was a choice between $9.77 or 45-day free pass. I went with the free pass. Apparently, they don’t get as crowded as 24 Hour Fitness, so now I can swim and do weights in one place. YAY!

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