Thursday, July 12, 2018

Crunch: Looking Forward to the Next Thing

If you’ve been following this blog, you will already know that I’m swimming across Long Island Sound with a few friends on August 4th.  Before you ask, yes, we could still use your support.  We’re a little more than $2K away from our fundraising goal with less than a month to go.  A few good-sized donations could put us over the top.  That would be very nice.

The good news is that I’m swimming well.  I put in nearly four miles in open water last week, and I felt good doing it.  That’s excellent.  But the bad news is that after several months of intense focus in the water, I’m starting to get a little restless.  Honestly, this is more focus than I generally put on any one exercise discipline, and with nearly a month to go, I’ve already started itching to get on to the next thing.  I mean, I love swimming, I really do, but I there is a reason that I retired from competition.  As satisfying as it is to swim well on the occasional hard day, I miss easy runs on Sunday afternoons, too.  I’m also more than ready to get back into the weight room.  Plus, Sally says I’ve let myself get too skinny.
I hadn’t actually planned to take time off from the weight room.  But I tweaked my elbows lifting heavy way back in February, and with the grind of needing yardage in the water, the elbows never really quit hurting.  It’s now July, and I’m gradually getting over what is an obvious case of tendinitis.  Even after months out the gym, however, I can definitely still feel it.  My left elbow especially hurts when I don’t warm up slowly enough before a hard swim, and I even notice occasionally when I’m on the bike.  But by the time that elbow pain got bad enough that I considered taking time off, we’d already gotten so close to the Swim Across the Sound that I realized I was just going to have to push through and hope for the best.  I haven’t torn anything—yet—and things have eased up a bit as I’ve started going longer and slower these past few weeks, but it was touch-and-go for a while there.  I had a few legitimately tough workouts back in June.
The next thing, if you’re wondering, is the Tour de Cure NYC.  The Tour is a charity bike ride sponsored annually by the American Diabetes Association.  I signed up for the metric century distance at the end of September, and it’s a reasonably tough course over generally rolling terrain, but there are several rest stops, and the event overall requires nowhere near the same kind of effort as does the Swim Across the Sound.  I’ll have two full months to pivot my training plan, along with base aerobic fitness leftover from the Swim and the background of my daily bike commute.  
It’s no sweat, really, though it ought to be fun.
I’m hoping to get back in the gym before the end of September, but my elbows need to stop hurting completely first.  I’ll take at least two months completely off from swimming to help the process, and hopefully that’ll do it.  If not, well, it could be a long time before I make it back into the weight room.
Ideally, I’ll start lifting a little heavier after the Tour de Cure, both because I like lifting during football season—crucially, Crunch has TVs in the gym, if you’ll recall—and because it’ll help to prep my body for ski season.  Strengthen my bones and ligaments while working lower body and core muscular endurance.  I noticed last season that I needed more core body strength on the snowboard, especially on mogul runs, and most especially when I was skiing with my buddy Brian up at Okemo.  Well, Brian just took a brigade command out in Colorado, and I plan to be ready for our eventual trip to the mountains, though I haven’t started developing an actual training plan yet.  Nevertheless, he is a competitive son of a bitch; experience has taught me not to meet him for something like this unprepared.
For now, I’ve still got three weeks of hard swimming in front of me, followed by a rest week and the Swim itself.  I’ve got to get tuned up on the bike after that, but that, I think, will be a pleasure.
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Since I know you're fascinated by this stuff, Tuesday night's workout was as follows:
3 x 200 @ 3:15 easy aerobic pace
200 kick
200 breathing every 3rd

Main Set
10 x 200 @ 2:50 aggressive aerobic pace (holding ~2:35/200)
 -- 6 x swim
 -- 3 x pull
 -- last one easy cool-down

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