More Data for Better Living – Swim Stroke Rate

So I know my stroke rate in the pool is slow – usually around 44 spm. I was racing on Sunday and my stroke rate was ~60 spm. I know that a faster stroke rate is better, and it’s definitely better for open water – I hadn’t been aiming for it, I just fell into it. I went back and looked at my previous four races this year. Same deal – my arms always move faster when I’m racing.

I’m much faster in the water when I race and I had been chalking that up solely to the wetsuit but now I’m thinking it’s a combo of wet suit and a higher cadence.

Lake San Antonio Update – 4/7/2016

The numbers as of 4/1/16

(Water is represented in Acre-Feet)

Current level is 7.2% – 24,110

To Go to Swim at Lynch – 42,890

Increase since 1/24/16 – 13,755

Increase this week – 1,600

Days until Wildflower – 23

Average increase in acre feet required per day to meet 20% by race day – 1865 (yeah, good luck with that)

Next rainfall forecast -4/7/2016

There has been no rain for a couple of weeks and temperatures have risen, so rainfall now has to cope with increased evaporation. The good news is the water is the highest it’s been since they have started using Harris Creek, higher water = less of a climb to get to T1A.

There should be significant rain this weekend, up to a half inch, and there is a chance of rain for at least the next ten days. Unless we get a proper flood Lynch will have to wait for next year, but we will have plenty of lovely water to swim in.

(All Data from the Monterey County Water Resources Agency here.)

-fh

Tri this – Swimming while slow

Triathlon season starts this week, for me (Wildflower, baby!!) and I haven’t swum since my last tri, on August 31. I am starting in on The Sufferfest Intermediate Triathlon Training Plan (woo hoo!) While I have been forced to accept that I am a decent swimmer, I am still not a _fast_ swimmer.  To complete the assigned yardage for this training plan would take me well over the time estimate for the workouts. I know that, as swimmers, when we get tired, our form goes to shit and all our swimming becomes an iteration of crappy habits.

So what do I do? I swim for an hour. It’s a solid workout. It ensures that I get drills in  – which are super important for adult onset swimmers, your form can never be too good – without spending time flailing on the back end. I also check in and see how much I improve. It’s quite easy when you can see the yards per workout going up over a season. And, I don’t start my day feeling like a failure. It’s a What you can, When you can, technique and I’ve had good results with it.

So, new swimmers, don’t worry about not making your assigned yards. Get a _quality_ workout in, don’t spend time being discouraged that you can’t do it in an hour (like I used to), and have an easy yardstick for improvement.

-fh

 

 

Moving right along

It’s Autumn! That means it’s time to run a lot. I have a half marathon in November. This is good considering my worst leg this year has been the run. Statistically, I have ranked lowest in running in both my tris this year. Weirdly, my best leg has been swimming.

Huh?

The discipline I have done the least is the one I’m best at? What are the rest of you people (and by that I mean women in the 35-39 AG racing triathlons) doing? I’m crap at swimming!!  At least, that’s what I think. Now I have to change my conception of myself. I’m not a slow but steady runner who like to cycle and knows how to swim but not very well kind of triathlete. I’m a learned to swim late but is getting pretty good at it an needs to put some time into the other two kind of triathlete.

Monte Rio’s swim was really fun but Oakland was kind of a drag. By the end of that swim I wanted to be done. I sped up because it meant I could stop swimming sooner. I got punched in the head! Still placed better in the swim than the bike or run.

So, no more saying I’m crap at swimming!

(My real best discipline is T2, knocked that one out of the park and I’m only getting faster!)

Onward!

-fh

Sick burn!

No, really, I have a terrible sun burn on my back. Next time I will be wiser and ask Mr. Haar to put the sunblock on my back. It’s decidedly painful and distracting.

 

This morning’s swim set was as follows:

Warm up – 200 easy, couple fo fast 50s, 100 easy, then…

1 x 2000

Yeah, screw you too coach!!

Anyways, I did it. Miraculously, I didn’t lose count of the 40 laps although I thought of little else besides my current lap number. I did it with a pull buoy. My right ankle is just coming back from a swimming injury that I’ve been nursing since June. The tendon in question was giving me a heads up or a tingle after yesterdays long bike/run brick. I’m not about to reinjure myself 19 days out from my next race and either not train until my race or limp myself over the line. The time was alright.

 

To be honest, I’m not feeling great about my prep for this race. I’ve had a couple of big disruptions, the aforementioned right foot and the new job I started in mid-July. I am trying a new training program and it hasn’t inspired me. It is very important in life to know what you don’t like. Constrasting my current training program with the last one I used (Sufferfest, ahoy!) I’ve learned a lot about what I value in a training program. I will definitely be taking that forward into my next training block.

-fh

The Baysics – Lake Anza

Welcome to “The Baysics,” an occasional series on places in the San Francisco Bay Area that are kind of maybe related to triathlon.

Today’s feature is… Lake Anza!

Located in Tilden Regional Park, Lake Anza is a small, freshwater lake with a lovely little beach and roped off swim area.

There is a small fee per person to enter the beach area, but no fee when lifeguards are not present. This makes it a nice option for open water practice either before 9 AM in the summer or anytime during the cooler months. Because it is a lake it’s important to be up on water quality, especially after any rain. See the link above for up to date water quality, fee, facility, and hour information.

My Review:

I am filing Lake Anza under “Why have I never been here before?”  I went there last Sunday for the first time and was very pleasantly surprised. There was ample parking and a snack shack (I get hungry). The weather was in the mid to low 70s, the sun was pleasantly warm without being too hot.

 

IMG_20150607_153110
It was quite lovely!

 

The water was wonderful! A bit cool, which was perfect for a no wetsuit swim in the “lap area.”  The roped area is ~60 meters long (thanks mapmyfitness!) There were free life jackets to borrow and the guards were really on their game. When a couple of kids moved past the drop off rope into the deeper swim area, the life guards got them back out of the way of the three or four of us actually doing laps.

It can be hard to arrange open water swim time with training partners. Because this is a guarded beach I felt fine going out without a buddy. It’s small and you are never swimming that far from shore. Even without guards I would feel very confident swimming here, especially in a wetsuit. There is relatively easy access to both roads and trails making this a good location for swim brick workouts as well.

With a couple of adults this could be a really great to place to get some open water practice in AND have family beach time.

Super cool, would swim again!

-fh

A good day, a bad day, a decision

Tuesday was my birthday!! It was quite wonderful. I had a low key brunch with my family on Sunday. Cupcakes were made and consumed with and by the almost three year old. Fortunately, her frosting induced hyperactivity was charming.

sugar
She is demented, but oh so playful!

Wednesday morning I headed off to Masters swim at the pool. When I first joined Masters I had not swum laps for three years. I was very nervous and the encouragement of the lane dwellers was welcome. “Do what you can!” “It’s ok if you do fewer sets, you’re doing great!” I have had some minor beef with my lane mates in the past. Things like getting lectured about pool etiquette by the person who is always kicking me with her fins.

Well Wednesday it kind of blew up. I did a swim workout by myself about ten days ago. In one hour of Masters I can get in 1400-1600 yards. In 55 minutes by myself I got in 1900 yards. That seemed weird. Now we do more than just front crawl in Masters, and not everything is as fast, but that seemed like a big discrepancy. I realized that I was losing yards because I was waiting for the whole lane to “get” the workout. They wouldn’t pay attention to the coach for some reason, then would have a chat to determine amongst themselves what the workout was, then realize that they needed to ask the coach, then start swimming.

coffee-klatch
“So then I told her that ‘paddles’ is just when you put the fins on your hands!”‘” “Ha ha! Fucking n00b!!”

I used to wait for the whole lane to have it down.  I stopped waiting a couple of weeks ago. After trying to tell the group the set, because I had been paying attention, and having them ignore me, I started leaving when I knew what to do. They were still faster swimmers, but not fast enough to make up thirty seconds to a minute on me.

So I was swimming in front, cool, right? I thought so. Wednesday we get assigned a set of kicking. I hate kicking, so I grabbed some fins to make it bearable. One of the lane dwellers always wears fins of some sort so I figured this was cool, in terms of etiquette, she being the Emily Post of the Pool. Well, Emily Post and her buddy were going down, side by side with kickboards, almost completely blocking the lane, chatting during the kick set. I thought “Seriously? You gave me a lecture on what not to do and you pull this blatant shit?” I passed them going down, then had to thread through the gap on the way back while they nattered away.

08262012_pooch2_w730
Not this cute.

We move on the main set which is this weird down, stop, jump, down, dolphin dive, thingamajig that took a lot of instruction from the coach. We finish the instruction rep and then start the main set. We finish a rep and suddenly there’s the question “How many was that?” I said it was three, the instruction set plus two. The Queen of the Lane (Emily Post’s friend)  says it was two.

Well I can fucking count to three. QoL and I say “3” “no 2” to each other and then Emily Post reaches the wall. She comes up and is asked how many reps that is and says “3.” BUT then QoL says it’s two and she changes her story. Because she is there to be buddies and I am new and can’t be right (interpretive license ahoy I know, but fuck them). I was done. “Well, it’s just fucking math” I say and then leave on the next rep (that, by the way, QoL is doing wrong because once again she didn’t listen to the coach).

I finish my workout and go to the locker room. I’m pissed. QoL is in there and proceeds to tell me that I shouldn’t get upset. There’s no reason to get upset. It’s just swimming. I say “It doesn’ t matter” because I don’t want to get into it. She didn’t ask “Why did you get upset.” She had no concern for me. She communicated to me that my feelings were wrong and that I was wrong to be upset over swimming. She gaslighted me and tried to emotionally negate me. No compassion, no camaraderie, just someone who felt they needed to dictate what I did and control how I reacted in the future.

jyvgTs5

Now, I know that what other people do shouldn’t matter to me, how many reps they think we have done should not be important, but I’m exhausted by these people. Every week they miscount something, they have gone out of their way to communicate that they know what to do and I need to learn what to do.  People who don’t take the rest intervals, people who think 4 * 2 is the same as 8. People who are here “just for fun” and “it doesn’t matter.” Well that’s them and that’s fine _for them_.  I am in deadly earnest in the pool.  Yes, I think it’s super fun! It’s also really, really important to me.  What I do is not a commentary on them or their correctness or their righteousness. I’m here to get coached, to get better, to get FASTER. Frankly, I’m here to win. I don’t know what I’m gonna win, but I’m fucking going for it.

2408atg-w800h800z1-60083-i-didnt-come-here-to-make-friends-i-came-here-to-win
Yup.

I’m leaving my Masters group. Yes, it’s a very good deal financially. It’s a crap deal emotionally and I won’t go back until I can move up a lane and not have to deal with these people. To quote my brother “You do not have to prove anything to anyone.” I don’t have to keep going to an environment that is somewhere I don’t want to be.

-fh

What a weekend!

It was full to bursting! Groceries, library, workout, gardening, marathon volunteering, workout, make quiche with a three year old, work out more, put three year old to bed, collapse.

I prefer the busy weekends. I hate getting to Sunday night and feeling like nothing happened. I don’t want to be well rested, which is what I tell myself I will be if I do as little as possible. I want to feel like I lived my weekend. Most of us spend most of the week working. If we do that, when are we living the lives we want? If you do nothing, or close to, on the weekend, when are you actually _doing_ what you want to do?

Working on it!

I was taking Sundays off in the last phase of my training. This phase is over! Now weekends are for beating my ass. The fantastic news is that all this training is totally working. I am not just feeling stronger and faster, I AM stronger and faster.

This weekend’s case in point: the swim. I couldn’t get to masters’ because of the Oakland Marathon. I manned a water stop for three hours with the Oakland Triathlon Club. Super fun by the way. Even if you have no intention of ever participating in an athletic activity, I encourage you to volunteer. You get to see a lot of the race and a very tangible feeling of helping the racers. Races don’t happen without volunteers. I always thank them when I race and I try to volunteer a couple of times a year.

It’s fun, I promise!

(As long as you don’t get sued: http://www.somerandomthursday.com/liebesman-v-competitor-group-the-reply/)

I went swimming Sunday, midday at Mills College. Forgot my suit the first time I drove there but I got it right eventually and jumped in. Trefethen Aquatic Center has a very nice pool. The lap section is consistently eight feet deep. It has low chlorination, is very clean, 25 yards (I think), and un-crowded. I had to share my lane for the warm up but not for my main set.

A couple of months ago I was swimming at masters’ and I had to do 100 yards on an interval, e.g. I had to leave the wall after a set period of time. The 100 yards took me about 2:30 and I left every 3 minutes. So each 100 I took 30 seconds of rest. That’s a lot of rest. Those 2:30 100s were tough for me, I was working very hard to make that interval. I think I did about three of them before I was worn out.

On Sunday I did 4 * 100 on 2:25 with 10 seconds rest. Twice. I swam 100 yards in 2:15 (that’s 15 seconds faster than before) and then rested 10 seconds (20 seconds less rest) and then did another 100. Instead of three intervals of 100 yards, I did eight. I could not only go faster, I went faster with less effort, on significantly less recovery time. Each of those eight 100 yard segments was the same time. Every time I came up at the end it had been 2:15, from the first to the last. I’m a sucker for consistency, I could not have been more happy with my results.

Between the two sets of 4 * 100 I did 200 yards of backstroke. In November, when I started masters’, I couldn’t go in a straight line during backstroke to save my life. On Sunday, with something to spot, I did just fine and was able to relax and swim effectively on my back.

The cherry on top of the already fulfilling workout (did I mention I swam almost a half-iron distance worth of yards in 55 minutes? My longest swim workout since I got back in the pool after a three year break?) was that I did two lengths of butterfly, for FUN. Easy butterfly, just cuz I felt like it, as a cool down.

I have lost my ever loving mind or maybe just shed my non-swimmer self just about completely.

-fh

 

I feel like I’m not doing anything…

…which is either a massive over or understatement, depending on how you look at it.

I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, which I had not planned into my training calendar. It came up and I went for it. It was super fun but it threw me off my rhythm.

It was.....fun...?
It was…..fun…?

I spent a week recovering and then I was planning on being in Irvine for the Zot Trot as a training day to get the feel for a triathlon without the pressure of an “A” race, i.e. I was gonna take it easy and have fun. I did not get down to Irvine. My husbeast’s band had a really important show scheduled for that weekend, which we figured out nine days before race day. So the Zot Trot got cancelled and I do not do very well with unfulfilled expectations.

Yeah, the anteater was disappointed too.
Yeah, the anteater was disappointed too.

That was two weeks ago. Right after the aborted triathlon we jumped right into preschool applications. This shit is crazy. We are applying to a handful of co-operative preschools which are cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time than a conventional school. Given that we have a bit more money than time, this seems good.

Apparently the time commitment starts before your kid is even accepted. Each school requires that we attend a tour during the school day. Every school’s tour times are overlapping, so we can’t do more than one a day, and they are all during the work day, so I have to take a half day at work for each one of them.  We can take our kid to some of them but not to others. Some of them require an application to be mailed, some need an application fee, some need us to write about what we are hoping to get from the cooperative experience.

Fuck paperwork, right in the ear.
Fuck paperwork, right in the ear.

When I get to work late I don’t take a lunch. If I don’t take a lunch I’m not getting a lunchtime work out in. My energy levels are really low, I’m not eating well (e.g. not getting enough protein, or frankly enough calories, full stop), and I just feel spaced out and crappy.

I have been getting some runs in and I got out for an actual long bike ride on my road bike with my fancy clipless pedals. I totally fell on my bike ride because it had been more than three years since I had ridden outdoors on my clipless. Thus I totally forgot to clip out at a red light. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and the rest of the ride was quite easy. My runs, well, my runs have been amazing.

I am coming out of the base training or “off” season. Lots of slow running. I have been feeling very questionable about my fitness after these disruptions to my training. Then I looked at the stats.  I don’t look at my heart rate while I’m running. I’m trying to learn to gauge my effort zones by putting in the efforts as I run and then checking afterwards if I was in the zone I was aiming for.

My runs lately have all been in Zone 1-2 e.g. “Slow, hella slow.” But that’s what the plan called for so that’s what I was doing.

Last October a 30 minute easy run was just over two miles. 13:36/mile

Today an easy 30 minute run was 2.7 miles. 11:16/mile

Same level of effort, similar average heart rate, more than half a mile farther. That’s awesome. For an even more stark comparison, in 2009, in my first triathlon season I did a timed mile as fast I could go. It took me more than 12:30, for one mile, and I was cooked. I can now jog a minute faster per mile than that at a low level of effort.

 

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

It’s very nice to have some stats to show that consistent training is yielding promising results.

Starting next week I’m out of Base training and into something a bit different…

463224283_640
Go time…