Saturday, August 27, 2005

Swim Breakthrough and a Long Run

I think this is my most encouraging week of swimming since I figured out how to peg my swim to my breathing and find my "swim forever" pace three years ago. Only this time, it's even better! Two remarkable (to me) things happened:

1. I actually kept pace with the Swim Goddess! Okay, it was only for one lap at a time, then I had to do some slow recovery swimming until I could match her speed again, but still... this was huge. Bigger than huge, in fact. Swim Goddess used to be a state champion, after all! Okay, it was at least 25 years ago, judging from what I estimate her age to be, and if she had been swimming all out, I doubt I could've even grabbed onto a few of her bubbles. But this is progress for me and it's the kind of progress that I think might snowball rapidly into even bigger improvements.

2. Not only has my bilateral swimming improved immensely, but I noticed this week that it's carrying forward into my recovery laps, when I breathe only on my right. Before, breathing on only one side made it hard for me to get a complete roll on the non-breathing side. Now I'm getting the full side-to-side roll, regardless of whether I'm breathing every other stroke or every third stroke. Neato! No wonder I'm faster all of a sudden!

So it's definitely been a good week for swimming. And since some of my other tri cyberpals have posted good swims recently, I can only wonder if the moon is in Pisces or something.

Today I finally managed to finish that stupid long run I've been trying to do for three weeks now. Two weekends ago I got hot, tired and lazy. Last weekend my knee locked up from ITB issues, or something very similar. So I really worked at loosening things up this week, stretching, working on those trigger points and generally doing everything short of seeing Mary to get ready for this weekend. I would've liked very much to have made an appointment with Mary, but I just had too many commitments.

So this morning I was ready give my sixteen-mile route another try, even though the weather report was predicting a 100 degree heat index by 10 am. I wasn't buying that. I don't know why, but I just didn't believe the temp plus humidity would be that awful, that early. But just to play things safe, I decided to do both of my bayou loops first, then do the River Oaks section last, to take advantage of all the shade and the possibility of sprinklers.

The bayou loops were a little hard on my IT bands, with all the hills and the occasional wild slant of the asphalt trail. I ran in the grass when I could, though. And I saw a rabbit and a lot more of those Alligator Habitat signs. One was even in the dog park, making me curious as to how that would affect the future of that popular section of the trail where people like to gather, take their dogs off the leash and watch them romp around.

I drank Amino Vital spiked with Endurolytes on the bayou trails, finished it off as I completed my second loop, then downed another Enduroltye and an espresso Hammer Gel before heading into River Oaks. I was totally drenched by this point due to the humidity, but around here in late summer I've come to see it as a sign I'm getting a good workout if I'm leaving a trail. Humidity also makes it easy to spot the other long-course runners out there. They're dripping. Anyone who is dry is either just getting started or only doing a few miles.

It was nice to get into River Oaks and enjoy the shade and fancy houses. I saw a dead snake, which disturbed me for some reason. I'm really not sure why. And I saw an entire family riding a four-person tandem (that can't be the right word for it) with one of those baby carriers on the back. This disturbed me almost as much as the snake, but for a different reason. I couldn't help thinking that a bike that long must be very hard to handle in an emergency situation, and one wrong move in front of a bus or one of the many work trucks traveling to or from a construction site in the area....

Okay, I guess that's a little twisted of me. Here was this happy family riding along on an outing, talking to each other, laughing, enjoying the day, and all I could think was that a single error in judgement could get all of them badly hurt in a single moment. I guess the stresses of closing the fiscal year at work have me feeling a little pessimistic these days. I'll go see if my husband will share his St John's Wort with me, okay?

I finished my run feeling pretty good, even though my legs were tightening up at the end and I was hungry. After sixteen miles? You don't say? I think the Amino Vital really works for me though, because this makes two Saturdays I've used it and I haven't been hit by any of that full-body depletion or mental exhaustion that usually characterizes the last few miles of my weekend long runs at this time of year.

And in other news, my writing is going well. I would like to have more time for it, but until they find a way to sustain human life on a planet with longer days, I'm stuck with 24 hours and I do what I can with them.

Recent Workouts
Last Sunday: 90 minute bike: Spinervals 5.0 Mental Toughness
Monday: 45 minute core and upper body work; 4 mile run
Tuesday: 1000 meter swim; lats and core; 30 minute bike: Cyclerobx
Wednesday: 45 minute core and upper body work; 45 minute elliptical
Thursday: 1250 meter swim; 35 minute bike: Spinervals 1.0 No Slackers Allowed
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 16 mile run


nancytoby said...

Those are some heavy-duty workouts! You're doing great, and that's excellent on the swimming!! Yay!

Wil said...

Congrats on the breakthrough! I think that you were right about us having a week :) Glad to hear that the writing is going well, too. How are the prospects looking? Have you found an agent? That's the biggest pain, it seems! :)