Monday, July 22, 2013

Tri Training Diary: July 15 to July 21 (Race Week)

This last week was a strange, very swim-oriented week.  It was hotter than Hell, I wound up working a later-than-normal shift for part of the week, and the week ended with a race, albeit a short one.  But what’s really unusual is that I normally train on a four-week cycle--three Working Weeks followed by one Rest Week--but I broke the cycle this week because I didn’t feel like I’d put in enough work over the course of the last month to actually need a rest week.  

My big race this past week was the Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim.  But if you’re reading this, you probably already knew that because I posted the results on bothFacebook and Google+ pretty much as soon as the race was over, and both posts generated quite a bit of feedback.  I bring it up because I only got in the water once last week, which left me scrambling to try to get into the water more this week--to try to improve the way I’ve been “feeling” the water when I swim--which is why I volunteered to take the weird shift this week at work.  By working the 11:00 am to 8:00 pm shift, I was able to get in the water in the morning (for once), and that set me up to put in the yardage I was looking for during the week.  Granted, it would have been better to get that yardage last week, but this was the best I could do.
Bottom line, I swam both Tuesday and Wednesday last week.  Tuesday’s workout was the longer, more intense of the two.  I warmed up with 200 SKIPS*, followed by 8 x 200 @ 2:50.  That was a pretty good set, and it had the virtue of being almost a mile, making it a decent race rehearsal swim.  I was mostly pleased with that workout.  I wound up holding my pace at or just under 2:30/200 (1:15/100) for the first five reps before falling off on number six.  Then rep number seven was ugly, to the point where I felt like I was losing focus on what I was trying to do.  So I rested two minutes and then did rep number eight fast, and I wound up bringing it home in 2:25.  That’s not too bad.  In retrospect, I probably should have done the set as 2 x (4 x 200 @ 2:50) with 1:00 rest between sets, but hey, you live and learn.  
I take notes on this stuff for a reason.  Next time, I’ll break the set down a little differently.
Anyway, Wednesday’s workout was an easy 1100 yards; I don’t remember exactly how I broke it down, but it was more of an extended warm-up than an actual workout.
I won’t belabor the race too much.  I got there early, warmed up a lot, and feel like I swam reasonably well, but there were definitely some things that I could’ve improved.  Probably the worst thing that happened was that the sun came out from behind a cloud right before we started, leaving us in brilliant sunshine--right after I’d decided to wear my clear goggles instead of my smoked ones.  That wound up making it much harder to spot the buoys over the course of the swim, and it also unbalanced my breathing a little since I wanted to breath on the side away from the sun.  As disasters go, that one’s a small one, but it still pissed me off.  
I will also say that I think I’m somewhere near the upper limit of my potential swimming fitness without actually focusing my training on swimming.  I wound up placing 2nd in my Age Group and 14th of 189 overall, and that’s okay, but I know I can do better.  But going faster means spending more time in the water, and that would necessarily take time away from my training in the other disciplines.  I don’t want to do that.  Plus, I know that I can be a little obsessive/compulsive about swim training, which is one reason why I’m not swimming anymore.  Being serious about it is a serious grind, and at forty years of age, that’s a level of obesession that I don’t need in my life.  Take that for what it’s worth.
Swim Total: 2 x swim workouts, 1 x race (3700, 1100, 2000); 58 pts.
I rode my commute four times last week, taking the fifth day (Friday) off prior to my race.  It was hot last week, but I was super-happy to be back on the bike after a week of rain that was promised but not delivered.
Sunday, my wife Sally and I actually got a babysitter and went for a bike ride together.  We road down and around the beach then back up Main Street and Route 110 to the bike path that crosses the Housatonic River with the Merritt Parkway.  We then turned around once we got into Milford and rode back down 110 to Stratford, where we wound around through some neighborhoods along the course of one of the road races that we do every year.  In practice what this means is that we started out over very flat terrain and gradually added a small element of climbing during which I learned that my wife is much more suited to short sharp climbs than she is to long, slow ones.  Bottom line, my wife is much more Nairo Quintana than she is Chris Froome.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ll have to remember it in the future when we ride together.
Anyway, we wound up riding about twenty-two miles at an average pace of almost exactly 15 mph.  For a woman who’s been riding less than six months, I thought that was really good.
Cycling Total: 4 x commute ride; 1 x romantic workout (4 x 11; 22); 66 pts.
By the time Sunday rolled around, I’d laid off running for almost two full weeks.  My right ankle feels better--not perfect, but better--so when we got back from our couples’ workout on Sunday, I decided to make it a brick.  Threw on my running shoes, took off my shirt, and out I went for a short, easy loop to cap the day.
But I felt really good once I got out there, and I quickly realized that I was on a good day, so I pushed the pace a little.  It was eighty-six degrees, and I ran tempo!  Wound up going 2.8-miles in just under 22:00.  That works out to be about 7:45/mile.  I was very pleased with that.
Run Total: 1 x short run (2.8); 11.2 pts.
Training Total: 135.2 pts.

Final Thoughts
It’s supposed to be cooler this week, and my ankle feels better, so hopefully I’ll be able to start working some run-training back into my schedule.  I don’t think my run-fitness has suffered too much from the layoff, but considering how hard won that fitness is, I hate giving up even an inch of it.
My next race is the Charles Island Sprint Triathlon, hosted by FIRM Racing and the Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford, CT.  That’s where I coach the local Tri-Club.  Sally and I are both doing this race, and it’ll be interesting to see what she can do.

* SKIPS: Swim-Kick-IM-Pull-Swim.  A set of 200 SKIPS is 200 of each thing, totalling 1,000 yards.  It’s my favorite long warm-up set.

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