Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week in...week out. Patience.

S - 35,700 yards (11'05")
B - 64.1 miles (3'34''), 1 mtb ride
R - 23.2 miles (2'49")

Time - 17.48 hours

I remember one time last summer (or thereabouts) when I was out in California visiting Moose, I felt as though I was swimming a lot (maybe 5 times...snicker) and I was consequently pretty tired. I asked her how swimmers "did it." As I've exclaimed (seemingly a lot) in this blog, swimmers amaze me with their work ethic. Here's little old me, a classic adult onset swimmer, whining about swimming five times in a week and feeling tired and sorry for myself (not that sorry for myself, since I was swimming LCM outdoors in Southern California... #firstworldproblems) to someone that swam on a level that was basically "all-in" through high school.

Her response (and the responses of other swimmers I've known) illustrated a very simple point that triathletes love to over-complicate.  The phrases "but I work HARD," "swimming is just a mystery to me," "I feel like I'm never gonna get better," that sound like questions and excuses can all be answered with just one, simple response like the one I heard.

"How do you do this?"

"I dunno, you just wake up and jump in."

So simple, so effective.  No whining.  No lollygagging.  Swim until your arms burn and you can't see straight. If you emerge from a swim workout and can properly wash your hair with no discomfort, it wasn't a good enough workout. Bathroom breaks (getting out the pool) mean you're copping out of the set.  Fewer than two dolphins off the wall means you're not trying hard enough to drown yourself (ok I made that one up).

Another interesting fact is the two "swimmers" I've been around in the past 2 years (Moose and Jenny) didn't rest on their laurels.  They could've gotten by (meaning beaten most everyone in the water) with a swim or two a week but when I was around her Moose swam just as much as I did (if not more) and a lot faster.  On reading Jenny's year in review post you realize she swims kind of a lot.  Almost as much as me! But I'm playing catch-up to their 10 million yards from ages 12 to....16? The swimmers (that are good anyway) still swim a LOT.

I'm exaggerating to make a point, obviously.  Triathletes aren't kid swimmers.  It isn't possible.  Because Brian doesn't believe in what's possible and what's not possible he has set me a task.  A task which, in years past, I would've deemed impossible.  "Swim yer ass off," he says.  So...I swim my ass off.  14 times in the preceding two weeks.  8 times this week.  Same again next week.  I don't actually know when/if it will end.

Anyway, so this week I swam a lot.  I was happy to do so because there was horrible, awful weather all dang week.  Spending time in the pool was almost the same as spending time outside; it was just a lot warmer and it served a purpose other than making me cold and miserable.

I can feel myself getting stronger as these swims have gone by; what used to be smooth 50s coming in on :33-34 are now :31-32.  I can do 100 IMs with relatively little rest and not die (well, a handful).  Anyway, it feels good to see progress.

I also got to line up for my second attempt at the Winter Short Track Series and my second mountain bike race.  I had a better idea of what I needed to do to place higher and I lined up feeling a bit more confident about what was likely to happen.  The weather, in short, was perfect.  Somehow the two weekends of racing have been the opposite of "Wintry."  But, I think everyone racing was more than happy to be there.

I lined up in the second row and at the "GO" had a good start but after about 5 pedal strokes at maximum power my left foot pulled out of its pedal.  Needless to say, this does not behoove a good holeshot.  So I lost a bunch of ground.  Basically, I did the same thing as last week: move up the whole way.  This time, however, I didn't go quite so hard on the first couple of laps and consequently rode a little stronger the back half.  I'll be curious to see my average lap times as my hope is that they were a little faster.  Although it was a slightly slower course due to the dampness of the field and the copious mud around the 180 deg turn in the middle of it.  Anyway, I came in 6th in sport.  I was less than 10 seconds away from 3rd, whom I could see on the last section but didn't have enough time to catch them.  My guess is that with one more lap I could have shut down the gap.  BUT, I didn't have another lap.  Lesson learned.  No giving up (not that I really did).

Last week a guy in the 40-44 race (starts a bit after ours) took this video:

He and the eventual winner caught and passed me around the 6:20-7:00 mark.  Gives you a good idea of what this course is like: fast.

Anyway, I was happy to move up and am looking forward to more awesome sh*t next week! Never back down.

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