I have to tell you that after the swimming incident a few days ago (see previous post), I was pretty shaken and was even wondering if this was something I wanted to pursue. I mean what idiot thinks he can do a triathlon swim when he gets scared swimming in a pool in the dark? But I figured the race is still so far away I have to keep clawing away and see what happens. Thursday after work I went for a nice bike ride on the Navy base while Zinnia ran with her running club at the track. I rode for 25 minutes and was able to get some good practice in with gear shifting, turns and riding with speed. Probably went about 6-7 miles (I need to get a bike computer that tells me my distance…still plan on it very soon). After I finished I rode up to the track and Zinnia was still practicing with the group. I just made a spot decision to go for a run with them….biking shorts and all. I ended up running a mile and a half with a short stop after 400 M. I felt good that I was able to run at all after sitting on a bike for 25 minutes. The butt does tend to get a little sore for folks like me with a skinny butt and no previous training. I am sure I looked a little goofy with my padded butt running shorts, but it was still fun and I got my first taste of transitioning between the bike and run.
Friday morning at 0530 my Directorate at the hospital had a mock fitness test. We are about a month out from doing our semi-annual fitness test with the Navy, and the enlisted in my work area wanted to gauge where they were by doing the test now. I decided to play along. The test consists of doing as many sit-ups as you can do in 2 minutes, then a short rest, how many push-ups you can do in 2 minutes, short rest, and finally a 1.5 mile run on the track. I still need to work on my push-ups, but my sit-ups and run were better than I had done last fall when I did the last fitness test. In fact, my run was WAAAAAY better. No doubt that all this training is helping my cardiovascular endurance. My run time was 10:45 which is about the best I have done in 5-6 years! It really felt good to be out there running with the young kids and keeping up with them. I have never been a true runner (ran cross country one year in high school and threw up more than anyone else on the team combined I think). I trained for and completed a few half marathons about 3-4 years ago, but have done little since. This triathlon training (in just a few short weeks) has really put me in better shape in a hurry. I can only imagine what kid of shape I might be in come July if I can keep this up.
Today was a very good day. This morning Zinnia and I went to conquer our fears. We went to Gab Gab Beach and decided to swim in the open water (we actually swam in the waters you see in the sunset picture at the top of this page). We were both able to do short bursts in the “ocean” without panicking. With our two kids watching with grandma from the beach (hoping they wouldn’t watch their father make a fool of himself) I went for maybe 100-150 meters total. I just wanted to get the feel for it. The water was pretty choppy and even a friend of mine who was at the beach said he thought the water was rougher than usual. I did get to taste just how salty the water is! Wow! That is miserable stuff. Also got a few drops under my goggles…felt like my eyeballs were on fire! I didn’t panick in seeing the sea floor and all the wildlife/coral that is down there. I am nowhere near ready to swim 750 meters in the open water, but at least I know I can get out there and not drown. I was very happy with just that brief encounter with the sea. After that Zinnia and I decided to hop over to the base pool just to get some actual distance in. I had been watching a few videos the past few nights on youtube about swimming for a triathlon and picked up a few tips about form. Here’s something though that will help me more than anything else. I found that I was actually holding my breath when I swam. Apparently breathing is kid of important when swimming! I would take a breath every 2-3 strokes when my head would come out of the water, but then, when my head was under water, I would be holding my breath! Seems intuitive to blow it out in little bubbles, but I wasn’t doing that. So, today I went out there and focused on blowing air out as I was under water. I also slowed my stroke down, shortened up my hand entry into the water and rotated my core more with each stroke. I also wanted to not stay on the wall every 25-50 meters, so I went in with the mindset that I would sidestroke some 25 meter laps if I was tired, but I would not stop on the wall. With that I set out this afternoon to just get a light workout in. I ended up doing 32 laps! 800 meters! In about 25 minutes. The whole breathing out through your mouth/nose when underwater….yeah…that works….big time. I had tons more energy. You see, ths is where a swim coach would have been handy to me years ago. Here I was all this time holding my breath and pooping out from fatigue after 100-200 meters. I did 800 today and quite honestly could have done another 10-20 laps. I did do 4 total sidestroke laps (100 total meters interspersed throught the 800 meters), but that is OK because it kept me going and reinforced that I can do that when I get tired and get my breath back if needed. Very, very happy with the turn of events today. Confidence is back. Now just need to get my pool endurance way up so that I can switch to open water in the near future and swim with more confidence.
Tomorrow is a 5 mile training run. Getting ready for next week’s 10K.
Xterra Guam triathlon was today and many of my friends were in it and did very well from what I can tell. Perhaps next year I can enter that race (1500 meter swim, 40K bike…mountain bike course…and a 8K run through the jungle). Who knows. We’ll see. For now, I need to worry about just improving every day.
Until next time….