The problem is that I didn’t set any goals this year. At all. I’ve been working out--a little--but I purposefully planned to take 2014 off from competition, and that’s made it tough to stay in a routine. It’s easy to rationalize skipping workouts when you know that there’s no immediate need to be in shape.
What am I training for?
After a while, it becomes an existential question.
Last season left me feeling burned out. I raced a lot, and when it was over, I felt like I’d accomplished a lot, but it was exhausting and at times stressful. That sort of thing was fine when I was a teenager looking to swim my way into college, and it was a basic part of the deal when I swam for Army. As an adult, though, that level of commitment is beyond what I want or need. I don’t have the time that I used to have, and instead, I have many new responsibilities that demand real commitment.
Swimming was my whole focus when I was a kid. Even at the Academy, I’d say swimming accounted for at least half of what I was trying to get out that place. I can’t let my life be like that any more. Learning to balance the desire to train and compete--to be an athlete--with the rest of what’s going on at work and with my family has been a serious ongoing challenge. Last year, that challenge got the best of me. This year I’ve been doing better, but I’m barely training.
I’m still trying to find balance.
I got in the pool twice this week. That’s good, but it was a struggle. I usually swim Tuesday nights and once on the weekend. I got home this Tuesday feeling tired and hungry, and when I asked Sally if she thought it would be okay if I skipped practice, she said, “Sure. I’d love to have you home tonight. Besides, it’s not like you’re training for anything.”
Sigh. Truer words were never spoken.
I stayed in Tuesday, but then the girls out to a Girl Scout outing Wednesday evening, and I forced myself to head to the pool. Finally.
15 x 100 pull @ 1:25
This was not some great workout, but the water was 85°, and any workout is better than no workout.
I’d planned to do a swim/ride brick on Saturday, but some of our friends threw a party. It was a good party. However, it left me a little shaky Saturday morning--so much so that I decided not to ride. I got in the pool, though, and I think I swam okay.
5 x 100 @ 1:30 warm up
Main Set (Base Interval 1:25/100):
-- 3 x 300 @ 4:15
--- one minute rest
-- 4 x 200 pull @ 2:50
--- one minute rest
-- 5 x 100 @ 1:25
8 x 50 kick @ 1:05
4 x 50 fly @ 1:00
100 warm down
That was better. I held about 1:15/100 for the first 3 x 300, and I was under 1:15 for the 5 x 100 @ 1:25. The butterfly 50s at the end were nothing to write home about, but I don’t do all that much stroke work anymore, and I will say that I at least did the whole set, such as it was, butterfly.
Swimming Total: 2 x swim (2500, 3800); 63 pts.
I rode my regular commute three times last week. I then got up fairly early and got out for an actual road ride on Sunday morning.
I only rode twenty miles Sunday, but just getting out on the bike felt like a victory, and I’ve got to say that I feel like I rode well. I was just over 18 mph for the first ten miles (very flat). After that, I headed into the rolling parts of north Stratford and contined to feel good. I even rode the hill at Oronoque Rd--it gains 278 ft in .6 miles--completely out of the saddle, and I felt good doing it.
I wish I’d had more time yesterday, but Sally had to teach a class at one of the gyms where she works. I was back home by 9:20 am. For breakfast, I made stawberry waffles. They were pretty good waffles.
Cycling Total: 3 x commute ride, 1 x road ride (33; 21.6); 54.6 pts.
No running this week. I pulled a hamstring running after my kids on their bikes last weekend, which just goes to show you how far out of shape I am.
Training Total: 117.6 pts.
All things considered, that’s probably about where I need to be. I haven’t been over 100 points in two weeks, and it’s been since April that I’ve been over 130 points. It would’ve been nice to put in another hour on the bike Sunday, but that would’ve left me in haze later in the day. I’m just not in shape for it right now.
The worst thing about getting older is not recovering as fast as I used to. I can still swim hard, and I can still get out of the saddle and climb, but I have to pick my spots. I can push hard once during a workout, and after that, I need to slow it down to a more even pace.
The 4 x 50 fly on 1:00 is a perfect example. I put down :32 for the first 50, but after that I was done. I held my stroke together and swam decently, but I only had pop for that first rep, and after that, I was lucky to go :35. Likewise, I got up that hill on Oronoque in 4:30, and I kept it under control even when the elevation got up to 16%. But after that, I was done. I could’ve kept riding, but it was gonna be smooth, steady rhythm, not explosive bursts of power. This makes me a totally different kind of athlete than I used to be, and it’s been a rough transition. My body still wants to attack, and my mind still wants to let it, but after that first burst, it’s over. It used to be that I could go up and down in effort all day, that the burst was gonna be there even after I’d been in the pool for 90 minutes. Those days are long gone.
I guess that’s a part of why it’s been so hard to stay focused and motivated.
Anyway, by the end of the weekend, I was itching to get back out there. That’s good. It’s been ten months since I felt that way. The local YMCA is sponsoring a sprint in mid-August--the Charles Island Sprint Triathlon. I’ve been on the fence about it, but I told Sally I’m ready. She seemed enthusiastic. She said she wants to do it, too. We may even train some together.
I’m sitting here now, dreaming about when I can get out this afternoon and go run later today. I want it.
That’s a big improvement.
* SKIPS: Swim/Kick/IM/Pull/Swim. Total Set = 1000 yards.