Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Achilles Heel

I have been trying really hard to overcome my swimming shortcomings. I have tried to read articles, tried just going swimming more, and every other conceivable ideas on my own to improve my swimming and it just isn't working. Am I going to be one of those sprint triathlon kings? Never doing an Olympic or Half? Not doing a 5150 or Ironman? Am I really a triathlete if I don’t? Am I going to stay mired in mediocrity.

I am really going to be forced to make some really tough decisions. Hire a coach? Give up? Just work on other things? What do I do? This is my Achilles Heel. Am I going to quit?

I am thinking about hiring a coach but I had a great coach and I just freaking suck. AUGH. I am thinking about just continuing to go swimming. Hard work. Dedication. Just do it. But that hasn't worked in the past. I really need to decide. I had really high aspirations. I know I can do the bike and I know that I can do the running. I do not even have to be a great swimmer, I just have to be able to make the distances. I know, HTFU, I am trying and I have tried. But my frustration is about to a boiling point.

I just read today that a buddy is starting an Ironman training program. I am really happy for him but really sad for me because I know that I could do the same thing. AUGH.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Granite Falls Tri

This weekend was Granite Falls Sprint. This was a new event held in Rolesville, NC. This was really close but really far from home.

On Wednesday night, I took a quick ride around the course. It bike ride appeared to be hilly and a long ten miles. I know that 10 miles is 10 miles but it just seemed to be a very long way. I also drove the run course and it also seemed long. It was a rolling hilly course. My goal this year is to finish in the top 3 in my AG in every event. After my drive I started lowering my performance expectations. Or at least that's what I was saying (see more later).

On Friday night as I was packing my bag I could feel the excitement building. I loaded everything in my bag and kept questioning myself. I went through my mental checklist a couple of times and everything was checked and rechecked. So I started telling myself to relax and calm down.

Fortunately I was able to get to sleep fine. No pre-race insomnia. The race was very close to my house, only 10 miles door to door, so I decided to not get up until 5:30. That would give me plenty of time to get there and setup. Didn't eat breakfast, but I never do (another thing I need to work on). We made the quick drive and were at the recreation center by 6:15.

I was able to park right across the street from the transition area so setting up would also be easy. It was still dark so I decided to put my bike in the correct position and then come back later and actually set up. Went for a quick tour of the facility and everything was gorgeous. It was a new facility so it still had a new feel.

It was very chilly morning so I decided that I would wait a little longer before setting up and I went back relaxed in the car for a couple of minutes. Finally the sun started coming up or at least it was getting a little brighter. It was still very overcast and chilly.

Picked up my timing chip and got marked and then started trying to get into race mode. My race number was 98 so I knew I would have time to wait before my start. I started visualizing the swim. Just take my time, breathe and continue moving forward. Sounds like a plan. Just breathe, relax and let my training kick in.

My start time was at 8:29, so at about 8:20 I finally decide to get in the water. It was warm and then when I dunked my head I realized that it was salt water. Interesting was my only thought. I am too new to really know the difference.

Finally lined up and beginning the swim. There was a gap between me and 96. So I was happy that I would have so open water in front of me. Then I started. The first 50 was great. I swam the whole way. Feeling good. I start my normal walk a little swim a little and at about the 150 mark the guy who started behind me caught me. No problem. I am ok with that. Then I caught back up with him. And he was not able to leave me, so I had to wait. Finally I went back around him and get back into my routine. At the 200 mark two faster swimmer caught me and swam off. Again, no problem. I will catch them on the bike. Finally at the end, I decide to swim all the way to the end instead of taking the stairs. I pop out the water and head off to the bike.

It was freezing. I was shivering worst that at Sampson County. It was a long run to T1. I finally get there and start dressing. Felt pretty quick, so I am off on the bike. No problem with traffic control this week. Once I mounted my bike, my plan was to start my Garmin. Well that didn't quite happen. I couldn't get it going and I felt like I was taking too much time. So just said forget it and put on my gloves, put my head down and took off. The ride itself went pretty smooth. I adopted the attitude if I could see them, then I needed to catch them. So I found a rhythm and just motored. I passed several people before the first turn. Then several more before the next turn.

I was yelling encouragement to everyone I passed. “Good job”, “keep it up”, “doing great”. I was telling them, but I was thinking about myself as well. Finally on 98 we had a nice sized climb, so I lowered my gears and just keep going. Just as I was cresting the hill, someone passed me. I was thinking WTH. I was shocked. But oh well, I will just have to catch him back. So I started working a little harder. But I wasn't catching him. Then I decided that I would not kill myself. Just take it and move on. AUGH. That was a difficult pill to swallow. Then we made the final turn towards home. I caught up with another rider and she would just have to pay for me getting smoked. So I cruised past her and thought I was gone. Rode past a couple of other riders and knew I was on track and low and behold I was passes back by the young lady I thought I dusted earlier. I was thinking "Oh no you didn't". So I immediately stood up in the saddle and took off. I went back past her and this time there was no catching back up. I raised my gears and RPMs and pushed it harder the remainder of the way to transition.

T2 went pretty smooth. My speed laces were a little too loose so my shoes felt like they were coming off the entire run. This run actually started on pavement, crossed a dirt path from one neighborhood to another and then down a long dirt road into the woods and back. It was creepy. I took off on the run feeling good but still tight. I was not able to get loose the entire day. I was not able to relax during the run. I am not sure why. In order to make up for tightness, I decided to concentrate on breathing. I was telling myself to take deep cleansing breathes. Try to lower my heart rate while increasing my speed. It worked pretty well. I was able to continue passing other runners and I ended the run pretty strong.

Ok so remember how I said I lowered my expectations for this tri. Well I finished 5 in my AG and felt totally let myself down. I was so frustrated with my slow swim and then my slow bike. My times were not as good as I felt they should have been. I finished 24th overall. I wasn’t even in the top 10% of the competitors. AUGH.

Well back to training. Chalk this up to experience.

300 Swim - 7:39

10 Mile Bike - 34:37

3.2 Run - 21:52

Overall 1:06

Thanks babe for coming with me.  I appreciate your being there. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Swimming Update

If you are a reader of this blog you know that I really struggle with swimming.  I have made a commitment to myself to seriously improve in this area.  I have added more intense swims to my work out routine in an effort to work towards that goal. 

I am really fortunate to have a drive to succeed that is relentless.  So I know that I will get there.  I WILL be ready for an open water swim this season.