... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Monday, January 28, 2013

Searching for the Trough

Well, I have officially reached 500 meters in the swimming portion of my training. It took what seemed like forever to complete, but I have to admit I was fairly relieved at how I felt during the workout. I didn't drown, didn't pass out, and only swallowed about a cup of salty ocean water. All in all, I am counting it as a success.
It seems that now that the running has been cranked up to 35-45 minutes, it's time for the swim lengths to start climbing quickly. As I look ahead in my schedule the distances creep steadily upward at a faster pace than in the past month. After my initial post-snorkel panic, I am feeling pretty confident. I have to admit that for about a week I played the excuses game, coming up with all kinds of convincing reasons why swimming shorter distances with a snorkel was still okay ("I'm just practicing for speed, which will help me with distance long-term." "Swimming against a current will make up for the shorter distance." "I need to focus on my form, not just my breath." I'm a great excuse-maker.) before finally admitting my wimpyness and committing to swimming only at Ala Moana from now on, where I can cover the proper distance and not use the snorkel. 
My new focus is my kick to arm stroke ratio. I find that left to my own devices I tend to fall into a pattern of glacially slow arm movements oddly contrasted by spastic, almost seizure-like kicks. This is not going to cut it if I'm going to swim half a mile efficiently, so I am trying to concentrate on speeding up my arms and slowing my legs to create a more balanced rhythm. Combining this with gasping for air, which I have still not mastered, is challenging. 

My swim area at sunset
I have read about the mythical "trough," the indention in the water caused by your face that allows you to breathe easily with correct head placement, but said trough is elusive and just when I get confident in its location and take a nice big breath, it disappears and I get a lung full of salt water. 
At any rate, my swim technique is my current focus and I am using every resource the internet has put at my disposal. This site has been helpful so far and I remain hopeful that with consistent work and no more excuses, my technique will keep improving. 
Despite my bad technique, I am still thoroughly enjoying the swimming. The beach park is beautiful, I love the lack of impact on my joints, and the half hour of swimming flies by in comparison to my running workouts. 

Up to this point I haven't talked a whole lot about the biking portion of the triathlon, mostly because I have been doing the workouts at the gym and they have been uneventful. Starting this week, however, the mileage is getting too high for me to fit into my normal gym time of half an hour or so and it's going to be necessary to get my bike fixed (for real this time!) so that I can embark on my training of 8 miles and up in the great outdoors. I am excited about this not only because I think biking outside will be more enjoyable but also because I have been missing out on my normal gym routine of strength training and weights. I've lost another pound, to total five pounds gone in the past five weeks, and I can't imagine what is going to happen when I add an outdoor bike workout and get back to my gym practices. Those spandex shorts I bought are seeming ever closer!

It has been a good week so far. Solid 3-4 mile runs, good swims, and easy bikes. I am excited to kick the training into high gear in the coming weeks!

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