This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

 

Three things from the week making me a better triathlete:

1) Wednesday Night’s Disappointing Swim

This is the time of year to establish a baseline for swimming, and at Wednesday night’s session, Pacific Spirit Triathlon Club swim coach Liz gave us 5 x 200’s to determine an average for future pacing. She instructed us to push ourselves to a sustainable, hard pace, but I didn’t. I was too conservative. I hung back. I wimped out. My average does not reflect what I can do. I was frustrated with my performance, but in the past two days, that frustration has turned to determination in pushing myself to my true limit in the future.

2) Sleeping Late

Instead of leaving my bed at the typical 5:00 a.m., I stayed under the covers for an extra hour several mornings this week to accommodate a tired body and mind on the fritz. I blame increased training, a lingering cold, and the rain.  With recent articles describing the physical and mental benefits of adequate shut-eye, I enjoyed the 60 minutes of sleep without guilt.

3) Vancouver Running Festival

This fall’s inaugural Vancouver Running Festival sounds fun. The event, more than a simple replacement of the canceled Rock-n-Roll Vancouver races, will feature several running races through the city, an expo, and perhaps more important, an organized effort to promote Vancouver as a thriving running town. From October 20th to 22nd, the full spectrum of local running – clubs, teams, pros, amateurs, events, services, vendors, histories – will be on display. If the multi-day format inspires a similar triathlon or multisport festival, that’d be cool too.

This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

Three things from the week making me a better triathlete:

1) It Ain’t Easy 

Ironman champion Linsey Corbin writes in this post about the physical and mental challenges faced by professional triathletes, specifically during the recovery time following an injury. The candid and well-written reflection provides a look at how the hard work getting to the podium sometimes includes being patient.

2) Potions, Lotions, And Pills!

After two weeks of caring for an aching ankle, I completed a 30-minute slow run without any pain yesterday. I am relieved and thank the rest, exercise ball, ice bag, Ibuprofen, a chemical lotion, and a homemade potion for their support.

3) Zooming In the Sun!

Flippers and Zoomers

Flippers And Zoomers

Today I plan to use the husband’s zoomers during my swim set at the Kitsilano Pool. Fast zoomers, outdoor pool, warm sunshine, happy me.

This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

1) Wear, Swim, Rinse, Repeat, Recycle.

My Blueseventy Reaction wetsuit is one of the best investments in my triathlon training, and I hope to fit inside it for several seasons. When I am ready for a new suit, I will check into Blueseventy’s wetsuit recycling program to pass on my suit. Great way to be green and make triathlons/open water swimming more accessible.

2) Heirloom Vegetarian

Baja Burrito, Heirloom Vegetarian 

Vancouver has many restaurant options – fancy, takeout, casual – for nutritious and creative vegetarian and vegan meals. I am enjoying Heirloom Vegetarian and its comfortable upscale cafe/neighborhood pub vibe on 12th and Granville. I ate its delicious Baja Burrito with quinoa nut patties last Saturday and planning another visit this weekend.

3) Strength Training Makes Me Strong Sore

Strength training is returning to my weekly workouts. The side planks, hamstring curls, and other exercises focused on core and upper body are worth the time. I am sore.

This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

Three things from the week making me a better triathlete:

1) Kitsilano Pool Opens! 

Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver BC

Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver BC

I was so excited about the opening day of this 135m, saltwater public pool that I marked the date in my calendar. This pool designed for long distance and open water swimming is a must for a triathlete in Vancouver. I swam there twice this week and witnessed swim strokes that should not exist.

2) “Professional endurance sport are weird.”

Closing thought in a good post by It’s Always Sunny Running. While someone is always out there who knows more than you, there are more people who really don’t care about these wonderful sports.

3) Spin Ups On The Trainer!

I enjoyed the flowing sweat, zen moment, and gear experimentation in yesterday’s bike training session focused on spin ups (10 repeats of :30 sec spin and 1:30 recovery) and single leg drills.

March, My “Almost Ready” Month

I swam yesterday for the first time since early February, completing a 1000m set* in 30 minutes.

To most triathletes, my swim was an easy warm-up, but to me, the set was a milestone in my “Almost Ready” training period.

With my “A” race scheduled for October and ongoing life changes (Career! Marriage! Immigration!), I have designated March as my “Almost Ready” month to re-wire my mind for the eventual  time-sucking training.

Being “Almost Ready” for a bike ride wipes out a sunny Sunday morning, and making “Almost Ready” a specific period to fine tune automatic systems is my solution (hopefully) to be outside and on the pool deck faster later this season. My first few triathlon seasons were frustrating from learning how to manage all of the gear, nutrition, and scheduling, and though I improve each year, I still need this training period.

I remember preparation short-cuts and time management tricks that move me from bed to bike or from pool to desk. I organize my gear, adjust my Garmin settings, re-confirm my annual goals, and mourn a cupcake-free life. I visualize a toned body fitting in my wetsuit. I check race registration deadlines. I institute sleep routines (out of bed at 6 a.m., in bed at 10:30 p.m. – even weekends) and diet practices – all just to be ready to step onto the pool deck.

So, the night before my big swim, I determined my set. I packed my swim kit with suit, googles, hand paddles, cap, Garmin, buoy, and snorkel. I checked the contents of my nutrition and toiletries bags, and grabbed empty plastic bags for a wet swim suit.  I tossed them with towel and flip-flops into my gym bag.

Training tip: Bundle items for specific needs (swimming, cleaning, etc.) into differently colored small bags to easily keep track of them. You can check if anything is missing by squeezing or looking inside mesh bags, and toss the bags you need into other gear bags, luggage, or car.

I arrived at the pool, and by showing up, it was a success. The previous evening’s preparation, the warm-up/main set/cool down set, and the showering/changing/eating afterwards nudged my swimming mindset.

I remembered how much I missed the black line at the bottom of the pool. I forgot the post-swim bottle filled with a recovery mix. A banana would have been nice.

Again, nothing spectacular, but I know that once my “Almost Ready” period starts, I avoid “Almost Ready” mornings when I’m itching and needing to start the day.

If you have an “Almost Ready” period, what do you do?

*3/3/15 Swim Set-30 min: 100 free; 100 pull; 100 kick; 100 free; 4 X 50 drills: 25 drill /25 free; 100 back kick; 150 free; 150 cool down – 2 x (25 breast/ 25 free/ 25 back)