It has been 5 days since my last post and a lot has happened. I have eclipsed a new milestone in my swim training, developed a case of patellar tendonitis and, most importantly, watched my Ohio State men’s basketball team advance to the Final Four. I’ll get to see them play their semifinal game against Kansas on Sunday morning at 11:00 AM here in Guam but if they win I may not see the Finals. By then I’ll be in Australia with the family and I am not sure Australian TV will be showing the game Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM. The sacrifices one makes for traveling Down Under. But who knows, maybe there will be a little sports bar near our hotel (or in our hotel) that will open up for all the Americans to come watch a satellite feed of the game. Of course if OSU loses to Kansas in the semifinals then I could care less about the finals and will be sitting on beach Tuesday morning.
Wait a minute, is this a Buckeye basketball blog or a triathlon training blog? Actually all the triathletes out there would probably answer that it is neither, but I am trying like hell to make this the latter. Last Friday was my run day and I was able to crank out 3 miles but I noticed during the first mile my left knee was very sore. In particular the area right over my kneecap. I have had patellar tendonitis before and it always gets better with some rest and Motrin. I toughed it out for 3 total miles and the knee actually was feeling better by the end of the run. But I know that I was going to have to watch the knee closely and not do too much. After all, I had run a 10K the previous weekend (see picture below of Zinnia and I after the race) and had followed that up with a 3 mile run a few days later. Perhaps my knee was trying to tell me something. The timing actually is not that bad because I was not expecting to train much while in Australia and that may give my patellar tendon time to calm down. Of course what did I do on Monday (yesterday)? I tried running again before work on the treadmill. What happened? Duh! I was in pain. I actually hobbled around like a man twice my age for about a mile and a half before finally deciding to shut it down. The knee never really warmed up and felt good. Maybe it is the treadmill. I remember that when I was training for a half marathon 4 years ago my knee developed the same thing on the treadmill and I seem to recall it getting better once I transitioned to strictly road running. I may try one more run before we leave on Sunday, but it will be on the road/track. If the knee still hurts I will stop and wait until we get back to Guam to try again. Fortunately I have time. The only bad thing is my Navy PRT is in 3 weeks and I am really hoping to be able to do well on the run. I don’t think I will lose much endurance by stopping for only a week, but who knows. Fortunately, the sore knee is not affecting my swimming or biking so my cardio workouts are still going strong.
Speaking of swimming, Zinnia and I went out to San Luis Beach here in Guam on Sunday. We had actually gone for a 30 minute bike ride on the Navy base immediately before that and had planned on doing a mini “brick” workout where we would follow up the bike with a swim. We did the bike no problem and were feeling good enough to hit the open water. Keep in mind, I have yet to swim in anything other than a lap pool. I was a little nervous, but actually was looking forward to it. My endurance in the pool has improved quite a bit and I now feel fairly confident now that I will not drown in the first 50 meters. So, we get to the ocean and start walking out from the beach to where it gets a little deeper. And we walked. And walked . And walked. Before long we were out about 150 feet from the beach and the water was still around my thighs (maybe 3 feet deep). Turns out the tide was low. We were there at 3:00 and we found out later that low tide was at 3:30. We could have kept going out, but the reef was probably only another 50 feet out and at that point it just drops off. Not a big deal other than the fact that there were several SCUBA divers in that area and we didn’t really want to be swimming amongst them. We opted to swim another day and ended up playing with the kids (and grandma) on the beach. At least we got the bike ride in. Today (Tuesday) I went back to the pool after work for what I thought would be a nice 750 meter swim. I felt great as I started out. 100 meters….200 meters….not getting winded at all. My stamina has really been increasing. You may recall that when I started a month ago I could only go 50-75 meters before I would have to hug the wall for 15 seconds. Then I learned the breathing thing and a little bit more efficient form and I was able to swim 100-200 meters before having to do a lap with a side stroke to catch a little wind before switching back to freestyle swimming. I had gotten up to 1000 meters in one swim before, but today I just pulled an Energizer bunny and went 1250 meters! Now, all you triathletes out there, don’t laugh….I know this is just a warmup distance for you, but for someone who could really only swim 100 meters a month ago this was huge! That is 50 laps if you are scoring at home. I really found a nice rhythm at abouth the 250 meter mark and kept it the rest of the way. I kept track of my splits and here they are (for those of you that care):
100M – 2:18
250M – 6:05
500M – 13:20
750M (sprint tri distance) – 19:55
1000M – 26:30
1250M – 33:33
So I swam for 33 minutes straight without stopping and without doing any side stroke laps. All free style. And the most time I ever spent on the wall was 1 second. I really attempted to just touch the wall and turn and push off. I was really pleased with my swim. I can now start to envision myself swimming the 750 meters in the open water. I can also see my training getting up to the 1500-2500 meter distances before July. I figure if I can train my body to swim 2500 meters (probably an hour or so in the pool) then I will feel very confident about completeing the 750 meter triathlon distance (20 minutes). So the 30 minute hurdle has been cleared. I think the next hurdle will probably be the open water swim hurdle. No distance or time for that, just get in and get the flavor. Then I will have a 2000 meter pool hurdle, followed by maybe a 15-20 minute open water swim hurdle. The last obstacle will likely not be able to be experienced until race day and that is swimming amongst a group of other people. I am not sure how that will play out but I am thinking my strategy will be to swim away from the main group, either to one side of them (the outside) or behind them. I have 3 months to think about my race strategy though. The good news is that my swim is improving significantly. My biking is steady as she goes. I’ll probably have to start increasing my time and distances once I get back, eventually working my way up to 15-20 mile rides in April. The run is on hold for the next 7-10 days I think, but I plan to boost that once the knee gets healthy, and plan to start working the roads more than the treadmill.
Other questions for me to answer in April:
Do I want to buy bike shoes (with clips)?
How strict do I want to get with my diet?
Should I incorporate some weight/strength training into my routine?
The answers and much much more coming up in future blogs. Stay tuned, I’ll be back in 2 and 2!